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A Minnesota First: Private Equity Firm Purchases Local Optometry Practice

, in Uncategorized , by Sunbelt

Written by Randy Krivo, MBA, CMSBB, Licensed Business Broker

It’s no secret that Private Equity firms have been acquiring independent Optometry practices throughout many parts of the U.S. for a number of years now. However, until recently, they were not active here in Minnesota or Wisconsin. That has now changed with the recent purchase by EyeCare Partners, LLC (eyecare-partners.com) of Vision Eye Care MN, which operates Chanhassen Vision Clinic, Oxboro Eye Clinic (Bloomington), and Shakopee Vision Clinic.
I represented Dr. Steve Consoer in the sale of his practice and we spoke to a number of PE firms before settling on EyeCare Partners. As an Optometry practice specialist, I have been involved in dozens of practice transitions over the past 7 years. But, this was the first time that a PE firm was involved. This gave me a unique, up close view on the process and I witnessed first-hand how it differs significantly from a transaction when a practice is sold between private parties. Questions that were addressed through the process included:
• How do PE firms value practices?
• What kind of Optometry practices are PE firms looking to acquire?
• Will the owner(s) have to stay on after the sale? If so, for how long?
• What is the process like and how long does it take?
• Are all PE firms the same?
• How will PE’s entry into MN impact independently owned practices?
If you own an independent Optometry practice, I’m sure you have already asked yourself if selling to a PE firm is a viable option for you. The short answer is, “it depends”. It depends on:
1. How long you plan to continue practicing as an Optometrist
2. How much you enjoy running the business side of your practice
3. How large your practice is and where it’s located
4. Whether or not it makes more financial sense to sell it to an associate or an outside Optometrist
5. Whether or not a PE firm will pay a premium for your practice
6. How important the value of your practice is to your overall retirement nest egg
Please contact Randy at Sunbelt if you would like more information on whether or not selling to a PE firm is a viable option for your practice.

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