ST. LOUIS—EyeCare Partners, (ECP), the growing network of full scope medical optometry and ophthalmology practices, announced today its acquisition of Nationwide Vision, the leading Arizona-based full service vision care provider. The transaction, just closed, marks the entry of EyeCare Partners into Arizona and strengthens the groups presence in the Florida market as well. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Nationwide, headquartered in Chandler, Ariz., operates 8o optometry offices in Arizona and nine in central Florida.

They offer a full range of eyecare services and eyewear products. The company has over 780 employees, including full-time optometrists who perform more than 250,000 comprehensive exams annually for optimal vision and eye health, the companies said. ECP acquired Nationwide's 89 offices in Arizona and Florida from Acon Investments-backed Refac Group, which also owns U.S. Vision.

“Nationwide is exceptionally well respected in Arizona and Florida, where its premier eye health services, consistent value and broad assortment of fashionable eyewear are experiencing strong demand from existing and new customers,” said Kelly McCrann, CEO of EyeCare Partners “We are thrilled Nationwide’s entire team, and especially its leader Al Bernstein, has joined ECP. We look forward to leveraging Nationwide’s deep experience with managed vision plans to help expand ECP into new markets.”

McCrann added, "As an organization, ECP is pursuing vertical integration and a strategy to combine both optometric and ophthalmology practices in its mix. There is increasing demand for medical eye services in Arizona and Florida as in other markets. We will continue to pursue other independents in these states as well. Orlando and Tampa, Fla., which is where Nationwide's offices are located, are a nice entry for us into the central part of the state as we've had a presence only in Northern Florida as of now. We expect our growth to continue."

“All of us at Nationwide Vision are excited about our opportunity to partner with EyeCare Partners,” said Bernstein. “ECP has a reputation for being a superb business partner and we are eager to leverage its capabilities to pursue expansive growth in Arizona and Florida, two of the fastest-growing markets in the U.S.”

McCrann told VMAIL that this acquisition brings ECP to approximately 450 points of service. With 12 successful optometric and ophthalmic acquisitions in 2019 to date, ECP now operates across 12 states throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as the Southwest.

EyeCare Partners is backed by private equity firm FFL Partners. FFL partner, Chris Harris, told VMAIL, "We see this as a real win for the sellers, for management and for the platform of ECP and what it can bring to patients. Nationwide has done a really great job in building its name and reputation in Arizona. We have no intention of changing that brand which is so strong in that market and we are happy to bring in such a knowledgeable management team. It's a great fit for EyeCare Partners and ECP is ready to help grow Nationwide even more and take it to the next level."

ECP supports the growth of its practices with revenue cycle management, purchasing, marketing, human resources, recruiting, training, IT and other business functions to meet the growing demand for high quality eyecare throughout the U.S., the company said.

“With the Nationwide team, we look forward to providing patients with the ultimate in eyecare in Arizona and Florida,“ added Dr. James J. Wachter, chief professional officer of ECP.

Alston & Bird LLP provided legal counsel to ECP in the transaction.