Windjammer-backed Hilco Vision buys reading glasses company

Hilco Vision, which is backed by Windjammer Capital Investors, has acquired I Need You, a European provider of reading glasses and accessories.

Hilco Vision, which is backed by Windjammer Capital Investors, has acquired I Need You, a European provider of reading glasses and accessories. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

Windjammer Capital Investors is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Hilco Vision (“Hilco”) has acquired Hamburg, Germany-based premium ready reader glasses company, I NEED YOU (“INY”), effective October 30, 2020.

Created in 1993 by a team of opticians, I Need You is a manufacturer and distributor of top quality reading glasses and accessories. The company is a market leader in the European ophthalmic specialist trade and distributes products to a global customer base in 65 countries and more than 30,000 stores.

Ross Brownlee, CEO of Hilco noted, “We have continued to build our European footprint since the acquisition of Breitfeld & Schliekert in Germany in 2015. The market-leading I NEED YOU brand of ready readers is synonymous with quality, service, design and breadth of offering. We have a strong admiration for the professionalism and market orientation the Gellermann family has brought to the category since founding the company. We are truly excited to leverage their experience and capabilities as we strive to delight our customers with category leadership in all our product offerings.”

In the immediate term the businesses will operate independently and there will be no needed change to how business is conducted with either company. Uwe Gellermann, INY Founder and Joint Managing Director, Neele Schierholz will continue in their leadership roles with INY as part of Hilco, working in partnership with the Hilco Vision European leadership team of Frank Thiel and Bernd Pigorsch.

“We are very proud of the products and service levels that have brought recognition and success for I NEED YOU in Germany and throughout Europe. We felt that partnering with Hilco Vision would ensure the brand would continue to grow and find new customers globally,” stated Uwe Gellermann, founder of INY.

Matt Anderson, Managing Director at Windjammer added, “We have been quite impressed by the leadership teams of both Hilco Vision and INY as they deliver on their customer value proposition throughout the uncertainty of 2020. We are proud to partner with Ross and the Hilco Vision team as they expand their product offering and geographic reach with this transaction, and we expect to further support the team’s good work as they press ahead with ambitious organic and acquisition growth endeavors to further expand their best in class service to the eyecare industry.

ABOUT HILCO VISION
Hilco Vision, based in Plainville, Massachusetts, is an industry leading global vision care company delivering comprehensive solutions to customers, built on a platform of innovation and operational excellence. It has direct subsidiaries in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, China, and the Netherlands. The company’s product portfolio is concentrated on 5 primary product categories: Professional Optical Tools, Ophthalmic Supplies, Vision Protection, Consumer Accessories and Lenscare.

ABOUT WINDJAMMER CAPITAL
Windjammer Capital is a national private equity investment firm, based in Newport Beach, CA and Waltham, MA that invests control equity in middle‐market businesses and in partnership with management. Since its founding in 1990, Windjammer has managed over $2 billion of committed capital with respect to its control equity investment strategy, and since inception has completed over 50 platform investments and more than 100 strategic add-ons. The firm targets investments in companies that are leaders in attractive niche markets and share several of the following characteristics: significant and defensible market positions; differentiated products and services; strong management teams; scalable business models; identifiable growth opportunities; and consistent financial performance. For more information please visit www.windjammercapital.com.