Varsity Healthcare Partners and Harvest Partners Announce Recapitalization of EyeCare Services Partners

NEW YORK--()--Harvest Partners, LP (“Harvest”), a New York-based private equity firm, and Varsity Healthcare Partners (“VHP”), a healthcare-focused private equity firm, announced today that they have completed a recapitalization of EyeCare Services Partners Holdings LLC (“ESP” or “The Company”). Harvest has acquired Varsity’s majority ownership interest in the Company. The company’s management team, led by CEO Michael Fricke and other doctor shareholders, will continue to lead ESP, and will retain a significant stake in the Company. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“ESP is exactly what we look for in a partner company. It is an undisputed leader in a burgeoning business model where there are few sizeable players. There is a clear path for growth as an aging population will require more and better services in eye and vision care.”

Based in Dallas, Texas, ESP is the nation’s largest vertically integrated ophthalmologic services company. ESP’s affiliated ophthalmologists and optometrists serve communities in California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, and Maryland. Since its founding in May 2014, ESP has affiliated with over 20 practices.

Mr. Fricke said, “ESP has had an outstanding partnership with the Varsity team, resulting in tremendous growth in our managerial organization and clinical footprint. I am excited now to work with Harvest as we look to attract the best physicians and continue to expand our network.”

David Alpern, Partner at Varsity, commented, “Varsity has had a strong working relationship with ESP’s executive and clinical leadership over the past three years, beginning with the initial recapitalization of the Katzen Eye Group and having scaled now to 46 practice locations and seven ambulatory surgery centers across five states. We are deeply grateful to ESP’s management and clinical partners, who are truly responsible for the success of this investment.”

“Given the Company’s success, Michael Fricke and Varsity could have elected to partner with many private equity firms,” said Jay Wilkins, Senior Managing Director at Harvest Partners. “We are both delighted and honored that they chose Harvest for ESP’s next chapter of growth. With seven previous multi-site acquisitions in four years, Harvest is quite experienced in platform growth strategy, and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Michael and his team to support the Company’s consolidation goals.”

Paige Daly, Managing Director at Harvest Partners, added, “ESP is exactly what we look for in a partner company. It is an undisputed leader in a burgeoning business model where there are few sizeable players. There is a clear path for growth as an aging population will require more and better services in eye and vision care.”

This sale represents the second exit for Varsity Healthcare Partners I, VHP’s initial 2014 investment vehicle.

Jefferies LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Varsity Healthcare Partners and Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP provided legal counsel.

About EyeCare Services Partners Holdings LLC

Headquartered in Dallas, EyeCare Services Partners (www.espmgmt.com) provides comprehensive practice management services to over 100 ophthalmologists and optometrists in its 46 clinics and seven ambulatory surgery centers across five states. Through a community-based, vertically-integrated eyecare model, the company's affiliated physicians offer ophthalmic clinical and surgical services in addition to optometric services. By leveraging our comprehensive array of best-in-class technology, processes and managerial infrastructure, we seek to achieve outstanding patient-centric care and quality outcomes.

About Varsity Healthcare Partners

Varsity Healthcare Partners (VHP), founded by David Alpern and Kenton Rosenberry, is a healthcare-focused private equity firm. VHP seeks to partner with founders / entrepreneurs of lower middle-market healthcare companies and dedicate substantial time and resources to accelerate growth and value creation. VHP has been very successful employing and executing a consistent value creation playbook, in partnership with entrepreneurs, which emphasizes a significant investment in infrastructure followed by an aggressive organic and acquisition growth strategy. VHP draws upon its extensive industry experience and relationships and hands-on partnership approach to assist in professionalizing each platform and driving growth. For more information please visit: www.varsityhealthcarepartners.com.

About Harvest Partners

Founded in 1981, Harvest Partners, LP (www.harvestpartners.com) is a leading New York-based private equity investment firm pursuing management buyouts and recapitalizations of middle market companies in North America. Harvest focuses on acquiring profitable companies in the healthcare services, business services and consumer, industrial and energy services, and manufacturing and distribution sectors.

Contacts

For Varsity Healthcare Partners
Prosek Partners
Mickey Mandelbaum
Maya Pogoda
(310) 785-0810
mmandelbaum@prosek.com
mpogoda@prosek.com
or
For Harvest Partners, LP
Jay Wilkins, (212) 599-6300
Senior Managing Director
or
Owen Blicksilver Public Relations, Inc.
Caroline Luz, (203) 656-2829
caroline@blicksilverpr.com