National Vision Deals Another Dividend to Backers, Berkshire Partners

Berkshire Partners is returning to take another dividend bite out of National Vision.

National Vision, which claims to be the fourth largest optical retailer in the U.S., is in the market for a $300 million loan, according to Thomson Reuters Loan Pricing Corp. Part of the loan, or $117 million, will be used to pay a dividend to National Vision shareholders, says Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s has assigned a B2 corporate family rating and a B3 probability of default rating to National Vision.

This isn’t the first dividend from National Vision. National Vision, in October 2010, relaunched a $225 million term loan that it used to pay out a $88 million dividend to shareholders, LPC says.

Lawrenceville, Ga.-based National Vision is an optical retailer that focuses on low price point glasses and contacts. The company operates more than 700 retail locations across 44 states including America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses (roughly 330 stores, Moody’s says), and Eyeglass World (about 70 stores). National Vision also operates host store locations through 230 Wal-Mart stores, as well as Fred Meyer stores and on military bases, Moody’s says. National Vision produced about $670 million in revenue for the 12 months ended March 31, Moody’s says.

Berkshire Partners acquired National Vision in 2005 for $7.25 a share, or $39.6 million. Berkshire also provided cash, at the time, for National Vision to buy Consolidated Vision Group for $88 million.

A year later, in June 2006, Berkshire Partners returned to recap National Vision in a $200 million deal. National Vision acquired the EyeGlass World chain from Vision Care Holdings in January 2009.

Officials for National Vision and Berkshire Partners couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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