By Olivia Oran
Feb 7 Private equity firm KKR & Co LP
said on Friday it would acquire National Vision Inc from buyout
firm Berkshire Partners LLC in a bet that consumers would
increasingly seek out the budget retailer's low-price contact
lenses and eyeglasses.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a person familiar
with the matter pegged the value at just north of $1 billion.
The management team of National Vision is expected to remain a
significant investor in the company, KKR said.
KKR was one of the private equity firms pursuing the
Lawrenceville, Georgia-based company, which had hired Barclays
to assist with the sale, Reuters reported in December.
National Vision, which focuses on low-cost glasses and
contacts, operates more than 750 retail locations under names
that include America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses and Eyeglass
It also has stores inside Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Fred
Meyer Inc and military bases.
Berkshire Partners took National Vision private in 2005 in a
$190 million deal that was funded with $153 million in debt and
included the simultaneous, $88 million acquisition of
Consolidated Vision Group Inc, an optical chain that was backed
by private equity firm Kelso & Company.
In 2009 National Vision acquired EyeGlass World for an
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal adviser to
Berkshire Partners and National Vision. Simpson Thacher &
Bartlett LLP acted as legal adviser to KKR. Wells Fargo was also
a financial adviser to National Vision.