Vision Group Holdings, Parent of TLC Laser Eye Center and Laser Vision Institute, Files for Bankruptcy, Expects Ownership Transition

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—LVI Intermediate and 17 of its affiliates, including the Laser Vision Institute and TLC Laser Eye Center brands, has filed for voluntary protection from creditors in Delaware under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company does business as Vision Group Holdings and the bankruptcy filing was made late last week. No details about liabilities or creditors was included in the group's Chapter 11 announcement. "The action we're taking is largely the result of the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy," Lisa Melamed, the interim chief executive officer of Vision Group Holdings, said in the announcement.

Based here in West Palm Beach, Vision Group Holdings oversees and manages two of the leading LASIK surgery providers in the nation: The LASIK Vision Institute and TLC Laser Eye Centers. Its practices have performed more than 3.2 million LASIK eye procedures and they are the industry leaders in this segment of eyecare, according to the announcement. The practices serve multiple markets—63 cities overall—in both the U.S. and Canada.

The filing will facilitate the sale of the company's business as a going concern, according to the statement by the company. Its plan is to "quickly transition to a new ownership group through an expected 90-day process and use the time to restructure and strengthen its balance sheet and debt profile, while continuing to operate normally," the announcement stated.

The company's investment banking advisor reports strong interest from multiple potential acquirors, including the company's current financial backers. The company expects to close a sale sometime in September, according to the announcement.

The planned sale will position the company for future growth, provide access to capital, and cement the company's industry leading position.

Melamed noted that stay-in-place orders and the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses, including elective medical procedures, forced the company to close all locations and temporarily lay off most of its team members. "While our centers were closed in response to the pandemic, we are excited to report that we have started to reopen and are currently treating new patients," she said. "We expect to emerge from the proceedings stronger and more viable than ever for team members, surgeons, patients and partners.”

She added, “Already we are seeing strong demand for our services at the centers we've reopened."