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New Look Vision Group Regains Its Freedom

In the May-June issue of Optik Magazine, contributor Jean-François Venne had a chat with Antoine Amiel from New Look Vision who will soon no longer be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company will go private again following its acquisition by the American private equity firm FFL Partners and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).

The new set of shareholders also includes the family of Dr. H. Doug Barnes, founder of the Eyemart Express chain in the U.S. The purchasers have agreed to pay $50 CDN per share for all of the Class A common shares. The transaction is valued at approximately
$800 million.

New Look Vision’s decision will therefore provide liquidity to the former controlling shareholder Benvest Capital and the other shareholders. However, the transaction is mainly motivated by strategic considerations. Being listed on the stock exchange requires a company to perform what Antoine Amiel, the President and CEO of New Look Vision, describes as a “quarterly striptease.” Every three months, the company must publish its financial statements, detail its performance, acquisitions and even reveal, to some extent, its strategic orientations.

Privatization will also provide more financial leeway. It is very difficult for a publicly listed company in Canada to maintain a debt level that exceeds three times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for any length of time.

Read the full interview in Jean-François’ article in the May-June issue of Optik Magazine.

Check out more articles from Jean-François Venne HERE!

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