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Case Study

TLC Vision

Situation

TLC Vision was a premier eye-care services company that owned or operated three distinct businesses: TLC Laser Eye Centers (now Vision Group Holdings), which at the time operated over 60 LASIK eye surgery centers in the US and Canada; Sightpath Medical, providing mobile cataract and refractive equipment and services through its network of vans and technicians; and Vision Source, a premier retail optometric brand.

Transaction

In 2009, Charlesbank identified TLC Vision as a fundamentally sound business with an overleveraged balance sheet. Through sponsoring its bankruptcy plan of reorganization, we acquired control of TLC in 2010. Our investment thesis was that we could unlock value by separating the three divisions into standalone operating entities and divesting them individually.

Charlesbank Role

Bankruptcy Process: Structured and sponsored the bankruptcy plan of reorganization after several months of negotiation and dilgence; repaid all the company’s pre-petition debt at par

Operating Re-Alignment: Worked with management to reorganize TLC into separable business units, disentangling executive and operational management and creating distinct capital structures. Realized our monetization plan and created meaningful efficiencies and cost-reduction opportunities in each business

Acquisitions: Completed a number of small acquisitions at both TLC Laser Eye Centers and Sightpath Medical to improve geographic presence

Sales & Marketing Focus: Doubled size of field sales organization and invested capital in a new business line to fuel growth at Sightpath

Results

In 2011, after only 11 months, we successfully sold Vision Source. In 2014, we merged the LASIK center division with a competitor and it now operates under Vision Group Holdings. We continue to own Sightpath, where we are focused on growth both organically and through acquisitions.

Key Team Members
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