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SFEP acquires Berkeley's Zoom Eyeworks

Sep '10
San Francisco Equity Partners (SFEP), a private equity firm focused on expansion-stage companies in the consumer industry, announced that it has acquired Zoom Eyeworks, Inc., a leading designer and marketer of innovative, expressive eyewear products. The change of ownership provides Zoom Eyeworks with the financial and strategic resources to capitalize on the growing demand for its brands.

Based in Berkeley, CA, Zoom is one of the largest providers of nonprescription reading glasses in the U.S., with a product portfolio consisting of reading glasses, sunglasses and accessories. Zoom's brands, which include Zoom, Dr. Dean Edell and ICU, are sold in approximately 15,000 locations throughout the drug, food, convenience and specialty retail channels. Zoom's products emphasize fashion, style and quality and offer a wide range of alternatives to traditional reading glasses for every occasion. ICU is one of the fastest-growing and best-known brands of fashion reading eyewear in the U.S. and has received Oprah Magazine's "O" pick multiple times.

"We see an enormous opportunity to market nonprescription readers as a fashion accessory and create meaningful brand identity in the category," said Scott Potter, Managing Partner at SFEP. "The market for nonprescription reading glasses is poised for disproportionate growth and will benefit from highly favorable demographic trends. Zoom's retail presence and brand portfolio present an opportunity for us to fundamentally change the readers category."

Partnering with SFEP in the transaction are Pacific Community Ventures and Simon Equity Partners, the private investment arm of the Simon family, founders of Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG). Simon Equity has previously partnered with SFEP to build pre-eminent consumer brands including Method Products, the world's most innovative natural homecare brand, and Yes To, the industry's fastest-growing natural personal care brand.

"We are thrilled about our partnership with San Francisco Equity Partners," said Jeff Linden, President of Zoom Eyeworks. "SFEP has a great track record of building companies and turning what are perceived as commoditized consumer products into unique brands that drive considerable mass market appeal. With their guidance, industry relationships and financial resources, we foresee a very bright future for Zoom."

Zoom Eyeworks is a leading designer and marketer of reading glasses, sunglasses and specialty eyewear. The company's brands have earned a reputation for high quality, innovative design and editorially acclaimed fashion. Zoom's products can be found in national retailers including Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Office Depot, Walmart and CVS.

San Francisco Equity Partners is a private equity firm focused on growth investments in the consumer products, consumer services and business services industries. SFEP partners with expansion-stage companies that have reached an inflection point in theirdevelopment, where they can benefit not only from growth capital but also from SFEP's deep operational, financial, and industry experience. SFEP was founded in partnership with LMS Capital, which has a 40-year history of private equity investing in Europe and the United States.

San Francisco Equity Partners (SFEP)

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