Windjammer Capital Acquires Hilco Vision, in Partnership With Management

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PLAINVILLE, Mass.—Windjammer Capital Investors has acquired Hilco Vision, in partnership with management. Terms of the deal, announced Sept. 10, were not disclosed. Hilco Vision, a leading global distributor of branded and consumable professional eyecare products and optical accessories throughout the eye healthcare supply chain, Hilco's products include professional eyecare products required for the everyday operation of eyecare practices and stores, optical accessories, which enhance its customers' sales, and additional value-added services which support its customers' branding and retail activities. The company sells to a diverse group of 40,000+ customers in a variety of channels, consisting primarily of smaller, independent eyecare providers and optical retail chains, as well as labs, non-optical customers and other distributors.
 
"Windjammer is an ideal partner for Hilco," said Hilco Vision CEO Ross Brownlee. "The combination of their successful track record investing in specialty distribution businesses like ours, the value-added resources they bring, and our shared objective to deliver even greater value to our customers and investors makes us confident that we will be able to execute our growth plan during this next stage of the company's development."

Brownless also told VMail, "Windjammer will enable us to expand our reach domestically and globally. They have recognized the investments we've made via our acquisitions, in digital services for our accounts, in expanding our domestic manufacturing, and we will remain highly acquisitive to broaden our scope further."

"The breadth of Hilco's product offerings and value-added services represent a differentiated value proposition for its customers, which is clearly reflected in the Company's leading market position and its long-tenured customer relationships," said Matt Anderson, managing director at Windjammer. "Ross and the team have done a terrific job positioning the company in an attractive and growing market with recession-resilient demand characteristics."

Hilco Vision is the second investment in Windjammer's $870 million Senior Equity Fund V, L.P. "We are excited to have Hilco join the Windjammer family of portfolio companies," said Greg Bondick, managing principal at Windjammer, adding that "the company embodies the attributes we look for in platform investments. It is a niche market leader that offers mission critical products and services to its customers at a high value to cost proposition. In addition, the combination of Hilco's numerous and ongoing organic initiatives, along with the landscape of strategic acquisitions, provides multiple avenues for accelerated growth."

Hilco Vision's previous investment partner had been Blue Point Capital Partners which invested in the company in mid-2014. During Blue Point’s investment period, the company stated, Hilco’s sales and EBITDA nearly doubled while its product and customer breadth, geographic footprint and distribution network significantly increased. Hilco also completed and integrated eight add-on acquisitions, allowing it to build a stronger presence in Europe and healthcare markets and broaden its product and brand portfolio.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with Ross Brownlee and the excellent team at Hilco. Through their good work we were able to successfully execute against all the key value creation strategies and significantly enhance the competitive position and growth profile for Hilco,” said John LeMay, a partner with Blue Point.

Jonathan Pressnell, a principal at Blue Point, added, “Hilco was an excellent fit for Blue Point as we were able to leverage several of our key capabilities including data & digital, M&A and Asian strategies. We look forward to seeing the Hilco team continue to execute on their growth strategy and are glad to have been part of this chapter in their evolution."