SOURCE: Charlesbank Capital Partners

Charlesbank Capital Partners

April 20, 2011 08:18 ET

Charlesbank and H.I.G. Sell Interest in Vision Source to Brazos Private Equity Partners

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Apr 20, 2011) - Charlesbank Capital Partners and H.I.G. Capital are pleased to announce the sale of their interest in Vision Source, a division of portfolio company TLC Vision, to an investor consortium led by Brazos Private Equity Partners. Charlesbank and H.I.G's stake in Vision Source was acquired as part of their purchase of Minneapolis-based TLC Vision in May 2010. The disposition is consistent with the strategy outlined by Charlesbank and H.I.G. to streamline TLC's operations and focus on its core ophthalmology businesses. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Vision Source is the leading independent optometric franchising organization in North America, with a network of over 2,300 franchises across all 50 U.S. states and Canada, comprising more than 4,500 optometrists. The company offers its members attractive purchasing power, professional and staff development, and practice management assistance while allowing optometrists to maintain independence. Vision Source is led by an experienced management team that has grown revenue and earnings every year since beginning operations.

Sponsored by Charlesbank and H.I.G., parent company TLC Vision exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2010, after only five months of restructuring. TLC emerged a newly reorganized, private company with its balance sheet deleveraged, its debt repaid in full and significant capital made available for future expansion.

"Throughout this process, Charlesbank and H.I.G. encouraged the management team to continue operations in a manner consistent with past practices, which allowed for a seamless transition for the company and its franchisees," said Glenn Ellisor, CEO of Vision Source. "We look forward to the next chapter of the company's growth as we continue to execute our strategy of providing outstanding benefits to our members."

"This sale further strengthens TLC's financial condition, returns significant proceeds to Charlesbank and H.I.G., and positions TLC to continue its rapid growth," said Brandon White, Managing Director at Charlesbank. "Vision Source's management was a strong partner throughout the process, and we believe the company is well-positioned to continue providing exceptional service and support to its members."

Recent TLC Vision Award
In March 2011, Charlesbank Capital Partners and H.I.G. Capital were awarded "Turnaround of the Year (Lower Middle Market)" at The M&A Advisor's 5th Annual Turnaround Awards Gala for their Chapter 11 reorganization of TLC Vision. "The award winners represent the best of the turnaround, restructuring and distressed investing industry in 2011 and earned these honors by standing out in a group of very impressive finalists," said Roger Aguinaldo, CEO of The M&A Advisor, a middle-market networking group. An independent body of experts from across the M&A industry determined the award recipients.

About TLC Vision
TLC Vision is North America's premier eye-care services company. TLC has two remaining business lines: Refractive Centers, which operates 60 LASIK eye surgery centers in the US and Canada, and Doctor Services, which provides mobile cataract and refractive equipment and services to more than 500 customers through its network of nearly 100 vans and technicians.

About Charlesbank Capital Partners
Charlesbank Capital Partners is a middle-market private equity investment firm managing more than $2 billion of capital. Charlesbank focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings, typically investing $50 million to $100 million per transaction in companies with enterprise values of $100 million to $750 million. The firm seeks to partner with strong management teams to build companies with sustainable competitive advantages and excellent prospects for growth. For more information, visit www.charlesbank.com.

About H.I.G. Capital
H.I.G. Capital is a leading global private equity investment firm with more than $8.5 billion of equity capital under management. Based in Miami, and with US offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York and San Francisco, as well as European affiliate offices in Hamburg, London and Paris, H.I.G. specializes in providing capital to small- and medium-sized companies with attractive growth potential. H.I.G. invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations of profitable and well managed service or manufacturing businesses. H.I.G. also has extensive experience with financial restructurings and operational turnarounds. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 200 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 50 companies with combined revenues in excess of $8 billion. For more information, please refer to the H.I.G. website at www.higcapital.com.

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