4 ECP Alliances Acquired by Private Equity Firm

A private equity firm has acquired four ECP alliance groups—Block Buying Group, C&E Vision Services, HMI, and Vision West—to form the largest alliance of eyecare professionals in the country. The new group, called Healthy Eyes Advantage, will serve more than 10,000 independent ECPs.
Nautic Partners, LLC, created Healthy Eyes Advantage (HEA) when it acquired substantially all the assets of the four groups, according to a statement released today.

Founded in the early 1980s when independent practitioners faced growing competition from national chains, BBG, C&E, HMI, and Vision West set out to support the competitiveness of the independent channel by aggregating purchasing services allowing for efficient interaction with the eyecare supply chain. Thirty years later, the four companies that started the industry are now joining together to continue their long-standing commitment to support ECPs. The newly formed Healthy Eyes alliance will expand upon this commitment and offer new and unparalleled access, services, education, and networking to independent optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians.

The HEA team includes Jeff Rinkus, the former COO of ABB Optical; Andrew Alcorn, the former CEO of Block Vision and chairman of Superior Vision; and Dr. Joe Mallinger, former CEO of Vision West, past president of the California Optometric Association, and president-elect of Optometry Cares, the AOA’s Charitable Foundation. In addition to the executive team, Michael Block, founder and CEO of BBG and pioneer of the eyecare buying group industry; and Brad Shapiro, principal of C&E and Vision West, have joined the board of Healthy Eyes and are serving as senior advisors to the company.

Jeff Rinkus, CEO of Healthy Eyes, says: “Together, the four buying groups provide purchasing services and management support to more than 10,000 optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians across the country with over $500 million in purchasing power. These numbers give us an opportunity to partner with leading industry suppliers to develop innovative purchasing programs that will further reduce our members’ largest expense, their cost of goods. We will also be building a peer network of independent practitioners to assist with marketing, managed care, staffing, accounting, and other practice management challenges.”

Dr. Mallinger adds, “Each of these groups has helped the independent eyecare professional community provide great value to its patients and succeed in the marketplace. Given our partnership with Nautic and the strength of the Healthy Eyes platform, our vision of delivering differentiated value to independent eyecare professionals and being their eyecare business solution will continue at an unprecedented scale.”

Nautic Partners is a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on three industries: healthcare, industrial products, and outsourced services. Nautic has completed 130 platform transactions throughout its 30-plus year history. Nautica’s strategy is to partner with management teams to accelerate the growth trajectory of its portfolio companies via add-on acquisitions, targeted operating initiatives, and increased management team depth. Nautic generally makes equity investments of $25 to $100 million. For more information, please visit