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Varsity Healthcare Partners and Harvest recapitalise EyeCare Services

Harvest Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, and Varsity Healthcare Partners (VHP) have completed a recapitalisation of EyeCare Services Partners (ESP).

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 have not been disclosed.
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.
Fricke says: “ESP has had an outstanding partnership with the Varsity team, resulting in tremendous growth in our managerial organisation 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, says, “Varsity has had a strong working relationship with ESP’s executive and clinical leadership over the past three years, beginning with the initial recapitalisation of the Katzen Eye Group and having scaled now to 46 practice locations and seven ambulatory surgery centres 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,” says Jay Wilkins, senior managing director at Harvest Partners. “We are both delighted and honoured 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, adds: “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.

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