The founders of pro optik sell the majority of pro optik to the Munich based investor PARAGON PARTNERS and to Hannibal Zemariam, long-time employee and current managing director of the company.
Peter Hoppert (co-founder of pro optik): “With PARAGON PARTNERS we have identified a highly experienced and reliable investor to who ensures the continuity of pro optik and supports the succession to Hannibal Zemariam”. Mr. Zemariam, who has been with pro optik since 2003 and was appointed to Managing Director in 2018, invests alongside PARAGON PARTNERS in pro optik and will ensure the unique entrepreneurial culture and heritage going forward. This step is part of an orderly, well prepared succession plan as Mr. Zemariam and PARAGON PARTNERS are both committed to the continuity of company, its management, its employees and partners.
PARAGON PARTNERS provides capital for further growth and will help to deliver the group’s strategy and planned expansion in the coming years. Mr Zemariam commented: “I am looking forward to working with PARAGON PARTNERS. I am planning to drive the group’s growth through the further roll-out of the newly launched product segment hearing and in parallel, I will also be looking into potential acquisition of smaller chains.”
Marco Attolini, managing partner of PARAGON PARTNERS, said: “We are excited to support the management and employees of pro optik as new majority owner by investing into future growth and the sustainable development of the company.
The two founders, Rainer Hildebrandt and Peter Hoppert, will continue to hold a financial interest in pro optik. “A sustainable relationship to our partners is of great importance to us. Therefore, we will remain committed to pro optik, also financially, will support the new owner in an advisory role and will be available to our partners as a trusted contact,” says Hildebrandt.
The transaction is still subject to customary merger control approval, which is expected by the end of August.
About pro optik
Since its foundation in 1987, pro optik has grown from a single store company to the third largest optician chain in Germany. In 2018, pro optik generated revenues of €125m. The chain currently spans a network of 145 stores in Germany that is built on a successful partnership model, offering the options of either being a joint venture or a 100% franchise partner. The product range of pro optik includes both branded designer frames as well as value-for-money private label frames in combination with high-quality lenses, selling around 400,000 spectacles per year. Recently the company added hearing aids to its offering.
About PARAGON PARTNERS
PARAGON PARTNERS, founded in 2004, is a leading private equity group in the German speaking countries with more than €1.2bn of equity capital under management. PARAGON PARTNERS works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership. PARAGON PARTNERS seeks to unlock value in fundamentally attractive businesses, leveraging its ability to address transactional and operational complexity and transform companies through tailored value creation programs. The firm is based in Munich, Germany. Further information is available at www.paragon.de.