It may not come up for sale in the near future, but National Vision is a property to keep an eye on.
The operator of more than 700 optical retail outlets nationwide has been in Berkshire Partners’s portfolio for several years but still appears to have substantial growth ahead of it.
Boston-based Berkshire Partners took National Vision private in 2005 in a roughly $40 million deal. Since then, the company has closed at least two add-on acquisitions, buying Eyeglass World LLC in 2009 and Arlington Contact Lens Service Inc. in 2011, according to Capital IQ.
The Lawrenceville, Ga.-based company is the fourth largest optical retailer in the U.S., with more than 700 retail locations in 43 states, according to its Web site. Its retail divisions include America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Eyeglass World, and Vision Centers inside Wal-Mart stores. It aims to open more than 40 new locations annually.
Berkshire Partners seems intent on seeing more of this growth out. Randy Peeler, a managing director with the firm, told Buyouts that the company is “doing great,” and that, “for a variety of reasons, we’re not going to be selling any time soon.”
The firm might not be in a rush considering it may have already made a tidy profit on its investment. In July, the company was in the market with a $300 million loan, $117 million of which was earmarked for a dividend to its shareholders, according to blog affiliate peHUB. And in 2010, the company issued a $225 million term loan that funded an $88 million dividend to shareholders.