Wall Street Journal Reports on Altas Sale of Capital Vision Services


June 3, 2019 — Miriam Gottfried, Wall Street Journal

The merchant-banking division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is buying the company that manages MyEyeDr. optometry practices from private-equity firm Altas Partners LP and Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

The deal for Capital Vision Services LP is valued at $2.7 billion, including debt, and is expected to be announced on Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Capital Vision supports independent optometrists and practices affiliated with the MyEyeDr. brand by providing them with financial, marketing, human-resources and accounting services, in addition to helping them with things like claims processing. MyEyeDr. practices offer vision-care services and sell prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and contact lenses.

By the end of this year, the company will have grown to 575 practices in 18 states, up from 165 in seven states at the time it was bought by Altas in 2015. Under the leadership of co-founder and Chief Executive Sue Downes, the company has also expanded medical services, such as retinal imaging, and the variety of frames it offers to practices.

Altas, which bought the business with CDPQ for $775 million, was ahead of schedule on its growth plans and ran an auction process after receiving unsolicited interest in the company, one of the people said.

For private equity, the model of rolling up independent health-care providers in areas such as optometry, dentistry, veterinary- and physical-therapy services under one operator has been a favored strategy.

Based in Toronto, Altas manages more than $6 billion of assets. Its strategy gives it the flexibility to hold businesses for longer than the typical buyout firm does. Its founder, Andrew Sheiner, left private-equity firm Onex Corp. to start the firm in 2012.

Goldman’s merchant-banking division manages equity and credit investments across corporate, real estate and infrastructure strategies. Since 1986, it has invested roughly $180 billion in the health-care sector.

Sumit Rajpal and Andrew Wolff recently took over day-to-day oversight of the business from Rich Friedman, one of Goldman’s longest-serving partners. The bank plans to raise new private-equity funds that it can charge fees to manage, and over time invest less of its own cash directly in deals.