So Smooth, So Profitable

H.I.G. Capital LLC appears to have generated a hardy return on its sale of Ideal Image, a Tampa, Fla.-based provider of laser hair removal services.

The Miami-based firm announced on Nov. 1 that it sold the company for $175 million to Steiner Leisure, the publicly traded spa services and products company. H.I.G. led a $16 million equity and debt financing of Ideal Image in 2006 that also included a firm called ORIX Venture Finance LLC, according to a press release from the time.

It’s unclear if the $16 million round was the total H.I.G. invested in the company, although Capital IQ doesn’t list any other deal activity between it and the sale to Steiner. It’s also unclear how much of the sale proceeds, if any, will repay debt, or whether H.I.G. took any dividends over the course of its investment.

Craig Burson, a managing director at H.I.G., said in a release announcing the sale that it marked “an outstanding investment outcome” for H.I.G. and its investors, and that the company “has been able to grow its corporate center count by over ten times during our investment period, resulting in the nation’s largest dedicated provider in the sector.” Ideal Image continued to grow through the recession, thanks in part to H.I.G.’s support, Ideal Image Co-CEOs Rick Mikles and Joe Acebal said in the release.

Founded in 2001, Ideal Image provides laser services to help people remove hair from their faces, underarms, bikini lines, eyebrows and legs. The company has 71 centers in 22 states, “providing a unique combination of a quality medical experience in an upscale retail setting,” according to a press release.

Burson and the executives from Ideal Image did not respond to requests for comment.

H.I.G., which manages more than $8.5 billion, is one of the more prolific and private of private equity firms around. It invests across the private equity spectrum, including buyouts, debt investing, growth equity and real estate, and its executives rarely, if ever, grant interviews.

In the third quarter, H.I.G. tied The Riverside Company, another prolific mid-market firm, as the most active U.S.-based control-stake buyer in the quarter with at least four platform acquisitions. The firm also popped up as one of the 10 most active buyers in the manufacturing sector, according to a Buyouts analysis of sponsor activity in the sector published in August.

Burson, the H.I.G. managing director who shepherded the Ideal Image investment from start to finish, works in H.I.G. Growth Partners, the firm’s dedicated growth capital affiliate. In July, the firm closed its second growth equity fund, H.I.G. Growth Buyouts & Equity Fund II LP, ,with $500 million in commitments, Buyouts reported.

Bernard Vaughan is a Senior Editor at Buyouts Magazine. Follow his tweets @BVaughanReuters.