Blue Point Capital Partners has sold The Hilsinger Company (DBA Hilco Vision) to Windjammer Capital Investors.
Hilco Vision is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of eyewear and eye care accessories, supplies and equipment. The company supplies more than 30,000 SKUs to more than 40,000 domestic and international customers including independent eyecare providers and optical retail chains, as well as labs, non-optical customers and other distributors.
Hilco’s five primary product categories include professional tools, consumer accessories, lens care, vision protection, and eye care supplies. The company, led by CEO Ross Brownlee, is headquartered southwest of Boston in Plainville, MA, with additional operations in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia (www.hilco.com).
Blue Point acquired Hilco through its third fund in May 2014. During the firm’s hold period, the company completed eight add-on acquisitions resulting in a near doubling of its sales and EBITDA. The most recent add-on was the December 2018 buy of Eye Care & Cure (ECC), a Tucson, AZ-based distributor of optical supplies with more than 4,000 SKUs.
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with Ross Brownlee and the excellent team at Hilco. Through their good work we were able to successfully execute against all the key value creation strategies and significantly enhance the competitive position and growth profile for Hilco,” said John LeMay, a partner with Blue Point.
In the course of its ownership, Blue Point brought in CEO Ross Brownlee in 2015 to lead the Hilco team. “I have been thrilled to work alongside the Blue Point team and be a part of Hilco’s success to date,” said Mr. Brownlee. “The meeting of the minds with ownership, the access to their value creation toolkit, and their readiness to invest have all been pivotal to our sustainable success. It has been incredibly satisfying to build a stronger company together with Blue Point and we can now look forward to an equally dynamic future under new ownership.”
“The breadth of Hilco’s product offerings and value-added services represent a differentiated value proposition for its customers, which is clearly reflected in the company’s leading market position and its long-tenured customer relationships,” said Matt Anderson, a managing director at Windjammer. “Ross and the team have done a terrific job positioning the company in an attractive and growing market with recession-resilient demand characteristics.”
Hilco is the second investment in Windjammer’s fifth fund, Windjammer Senior Equity Fund V LP, which closed at its hard cap of $870 million in December 2018. “Hilco embodies the attributes we look for in platform investments – a niche market leader that offers mission-critical products and services to its customers at a high value to cost proposition. In addition, the combination of Hilco’s numerous and ongoing organic initiatives, along with the landscape of strategic acquisitions, provides multiple avenues for accelerated growth,” said Greg Bondick, a managing principal at Windjammer. In February 2019, Windjammer acquired its first Fund V portfolio company with the buy Hermetic Solutions, a Tinton Falls, NJ-based provider of hermetic (airtight) packaging and components used in electronic systems.
Windjammer invests equity and subordinated debt as a control investor in middle-market businesses located in the US or Canada that have EBITDA from $8 million to $50 million. Sectors of interest include niche manufacturing, business services and value-added distribution. The firm’s investment size will range from $50 million to $200 million per transaction. Windjammer was founded in 1990 and is based in Waltham, MA and Newport Beach, CA (www.windjammercapital.com).
Blue Point, the seller of Hilco, invests in companies that are active in the manufacturing, distribution and business services sectors and have from $20 million to $300 million in revenue and EBITDA greater than $5 million. The firm has offices in Cleveland, Charlotte, Seattle, and Shanghai (www.bluepointcapital.com).
Houlihan Lokey was the financial advisor to Hilco and Blue Point on this transaction.
© 2019 Private Equity Professional | September 10, 2019