It plans to add more eyecare providers.

DALLAS, TX — Riata Capital Group announced the formation of Acuity Eyecare Holdings, a company that will own and operate North American eyecare groups and optometry practices. Acuity launches following the simultaneous acquisition of three large regional eyecare groups:

  • Crown Vision Center, based in St. Louis, with 28 full-service eyecare centers.
  • Eyetique, based in Pittsburgh, with 21 eyecare centers.
  • International Eyecare Center, based in Quincy, IL, with 12 locations in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.

Acuity begins operations with 61 locations across five states. Acuity will also own a large, full-service digital lab operation, The First Look Lab, that is located just outside of St. Louis.

Riata, a Dallas-based private equity investment firm, said in a press release that it intends to expand Acuity into a market-leading eyecare platform through the acquisition of additional regional eyecare groups and independent eyecare professionals. The formation of Acuity is the second platform investment of the Riata principals in the eyecare sector.

From 2011 to 2015, some of the principals organized and led the acquisition of Vision Source, a network of independent optometry practices across the U.S. Vision Source grew from 2,300 to over 3,150 locations, making its network of member optometrists second only to Wal-Mart in number of locations. Vision Source was sold to Essilor USA in late 2015.

Jeff Fronterhouse, co-managing partner of Riata, said, "We are excited to build upon our strong network of relationships, experience, and track record in the eyecare industry to create Acuity Eyecare. We understand the pressures, as well as the opportunities, for optometrists as the industry continues to evolve. As such, we see the formation of larger and vertically integrated corporate entities leading some smaller and mid-sized providers to consider partnering with groups like Acuity that can provide capable business, financial, and commercial support, allowing optometrists and their staffs to focus on meeting the eyecare and product needs of their patients.”

Acuity's management team includes CEO Matt Matthews, the former CEO of Crown Vision; Chief Financial Officer Doug Shepard, the former CFO of Eye Care Centers of America, Chief Merchandising Officer George Gebhardt, the former CMO of Visionworks; Vice President of Corporate Development Bret Davis, the former senior vice president of business development for Vision Source; and other senior executives from the leadership teams of Crown Vision, Eyetique and International Eyecare.

Matthews said: “We are excited to be a part of the Acuity platform, which is well-positioned for success with the support of Riata, an experienced capital partner that brings a deep set of industry relationships. In addition to the existing leadership teams at each of the three businesses, we have an impressive team at Acuity that brings substantial experience in important areas including medical eyecare, digital manufacturing and lab management, merchandising, supply chain, finance, and IT.”