DALLAS—Riata Capital Group (RCG), a Dallas-based private equity investment firm, said Monday that it has closed a General Partners-led secondary transaction for its portfolio company AEG Vision, an owner and operator of more than 235 eyecare practices throughout North America. The transaction allows RCG to return capital to certain existing investors while providing AEG with substantial growth capital to execute its long-term strategy as it enters a new phase of growth under RCG’s guidance, the announcement noted.

Investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley's secondaries group led the transaction.

RCG remains the majority investor in AEG following the transaction, a spokesman told VMAIL. No other details on the transaction were available at VM’s presstime.

In addition, in early 2019 funds and accounts advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management made “a substantial equity investment” in AEG Vision to support its growth, as VMAIL reported. J.P. Morgan continues as an investor in AEG Vision, the spokesman told VMAIL.

Since RCG formed AEG in 2017—as VMAIL reported—through the simultaneous acquisition of three regional eyecare groups, AEG has scaled to become one of the largest buy-and-build optometry platforms. Since AEG's formation, the company has achieved the following:

• Increased practice count from 65 to over 235 by completing over 100 add-on acquisitions

• Expanded geographic coverage from five states at inception, to 12 states today.

• Integrated and transitioned over 90 percent of its network of optometry practices onto a common IT system platform that provides POS, EHR and ERP solutions.

• Recruited and developed a deep management team with significant experience in eyecare, physician-led, and multi-site businesses.

RCG's co-managing partner Jeff Fronterhouse said, "This transaction has been a great outcome for all stakeholders involved, providing early investors with an attractive liquidity option at their election, as well as providing substantial new capital as AEG enters into its next phase of growth. And importantly, AEG is well-positioned to continue its mission of building a world-class eyecare organization that is good for doctors, good for patients, and a positive influence in optometry."

Eric Anderson, chief executive officer of AEG Vision, added, "Over the past several years, we have significantly expanded AEG's network of practices while making significant investments to support technology, back-office support, and other key operational areas that elevate outcomes for doctors, staff and patients. The secondary transaction provides additional resources in this respect and provides key validation for the next phase of our growth strategy. We thank RCG for their continued support and welcome our new investors.”

In addition to the successful closing of the GP-led secondary transaction for AEG, RCG has achieved several other important milestones, including:

• Selling its portfolio company WSS to Foot Locker for $750 million after doubling revenue and increasing EBITDA five-fold since late 2016.

• Closing two new platform investments and 54 add-on acquisitions and investing over $270 million of equity capital over the last 12 months.

• Investing over $470 million of equity capital since late 2016.

Evercore served as the lead financial advisor to RCG and AEG with respect to the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis, Ropes & Gray, and Vinson & Elkins served as legal advisors to RCG and AEG.