Lion Capital to Acquire European Optical Retailer from Bridgepoint, Apax and Altamir Amboise

Lion Capital is to acquire European optical retailer Alain Afflelou from funds managed by Bridgepoint and Apax Partners France and Altamir Amboise in a secondary buyout transaction. Founded in France in 1972, Alain Afflelou is a European optical franchisor with a network of nearly 1,100 optical retail stores across France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Morocco, Lebanon and Ivory Coast. Bridgepoint has been the majority shareholder in the company since 2006.

PRESS RELEASE

Mr. Alain Afflelou alongside funds advised by Bridgepoint, and funds managed by Apax Partners France and Altamir Amboise, announce that an agreement has been reached whereby Lion Capital has been granted a period of exclusivity for the purposes of reaching a definitive agreement to acquire European optical retailer ALAIN AFFLELOU by Lion Capital alongside Mr. Alain Afflelou and management of the Group.

ALAIN AFFLELOU will commence the communication and consultation process with employee representatives this week. This should result in completion of the transaction by June 2012, after it has been approved by the European Competition Authorities.

Founded in France in 1972, ALAIN AFFLELOU is the largest optical franchisor in Europe, with a network of nearly 1,100 optical retail stores across France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Morocco, Lebanon and Ivory Coast. The brand enjoys an unrivalled brand image in its core markets, with 98% brand awareness in France and leading levels of awareness in its other markets. The company has achieved an impressive track record of growth of its retail network and financial performance over the last forty years by continual investment in communication and delivering consumers attractive optical solutions and innovative promotional offerings. In its most recent fiscal year, Alain Afflelou generated nearly €800 million of sales across its retail network. Bridgepoint has been the majority shareholder in ALAIN AFFLELOU since 2006.

Javier Ferrán, Partner of Lion Capital, said: “ALAIN AFFLELOU has established an enviable position within the optical retail industry in Europe by consistent communication to the consumer of innovative product solutions and attractive and creative promotional offerings. We look forward to working closely with Alain to support the continued growth of this exciting brand and believe we are uniquely positioned to contribute to this success as a result of our strategic focus on high quality consumer brands and deep experience within European retail.”

Benoit Bassi, Partner responsible for Bridgepoint’s investment activities in France said: “We have greatly enjoyed working with Alain Afflelou and his team to develop the outstanding optical retail business in Europe. We wish them every continued success under a new shareholder.”

Alain Afflelou said: I am pleased to be partnering with Lion Capital which has significant consumer sector expertise. With this new shareholder our brand will be perfectly placed to continue growing in France and other markets across Europe.”

For this transaction, Bridgepoint was advised by Rothschild and Latham & Watkins and Lion Capital was advised by Lazard, J.P. Morgan, Citi and SJ Berwin. Financing is being provided by Citi, UniCredit and Alcentra. Alain Afflelou was advised by Jean-Didier Lange and management was advised by Scotto and Banque Privee 1818.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

For Lion Capital
Shona Prendergast, MHP Communications
+44 (0) 20 3128 8584 or +44 (0) 7798 626284

For Bridgepoint
James Murray,
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7432 3555 or +44 (0) 7802 259761

For ALAIN AFFLELOU
Isabelle Amaraggi Farrugia
Tel: +33149377313

Notes to editors:

About Lion Capital
Lion Capital is recognised as a leading investor in the consumer sector. With offices in London and New York, the firm’s principals have led the investment of €6 billion of equity capital in consumer businesses across Europe and North America totalling over €19 billion of enterprise value. Lion’s focus on market-leading consumer-facing companies has led to investments in such well-known brands as Picard, the leading frozen-food retailer in France with about 900 shops, HEMA, a leading general merchandise retailer in The Netherlands and now France, the iconic Orangina and Schweppes brands and Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe and accessories retailer. Lion Capital’s investment strategy is underpinned by exceptional experience within its senior team in investing in and operating within the consumer sector. The firm works in partnership with the management of its companies to strategically transform the businesses in which it invests.
About Bridgepoint
Bridgepoint is a European private equity firm focussing on the acquisition of companies valued up to €1 billion. With some €11 billion of capital raised to date, it typically focuses on acquiring well managed companies in attractive sectors with the potential to grow organically or through acquisition. Bridgepoint is currently investing a €4.8 billion fund, Bridgepoint Europe IV, and has made 15 investments to date.

Daniel Rolle
MHP Communications
60 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7RT
Tel: +44 (0)20 3128 8100

Direct Dial: +44 (0)20 3128 8199
Mobile: +44 (0)7946 656 212