National Vision, Inc. (NVI), the leading independent value retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, and leading global investment firm KKR today announced that a definitive agreement has been signed whereby KKR will acquire the company from Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
NVI is the fastest growing independent optical retailer and is one of the few retailers that is focused exclusively on the value segment of the industry. The company operates over 750 low price vision centers across the United States, including America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses and Eyeglass World free-standing concepts and vision centers inside Walmart, Fred Meyer and on U.S. Military bases. NVI also sells its products direct to consumers through 25 consumer-facing websites, including www.aclens.com and www.discountcontactlenses.com.
“We have had an absolutely marvelous eight year relationship with Berkshire Partners and are so appreciative of all they have done to support our growth and help get us to where we are today,” said Reade Fahs, CEO of NVI. “The NVI team is anticipating and looking forward to a very similar sort of relationship with KKR.”
“NVI has a bright future ahead of it, and we are excited to partner with this proven management team on its next chapter of growth. Through its broad store base and leading e-commerce platform, the company is poised to benefit from the growth in this highly attractive value segment of the optical industry. As NVI continues to grow, we also look forward to supporting its important social mission,” Nate Taylor, Member of KKR, said.NVI is dedicated to “serving the underserved” by providing eye health care and eyeglasses to those who otherwise would not have access to affordable vision improvement. NVI has been a strategic partner of VisionSpring, supporting its work to create sustainable business models to serve low-income individuals in El Salvador, India and Bangladesh. NVI also supports RestoringVision.org in its work to provide readers and sunglasses for distribution by American Mission goers abroad. In addition, NVI created and manages their own charity called Frames For The World that collects new eyeglass frames from manufacturers who have overstock and distributes the frames in bulk to clinics serving the poor in the developing world so they can bring sight to more people.