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Bridgepoint in the News

30 April 2012

Bridgepoint to sell Alain Afflelou

Mr. Alain Afflelou alongside funds advised by Bridgepoint, and funds managed by Apax Partners France and Altamir Amboise, announce that an agreement has been reached whereby Lion Capital has been granted a period of exclusivity for the purposes of reaching a definitive agreement to acquire European optical retailer ALAIN AFFLELOU by Lion Capital alongside Mr. Alain Afflelou and management of the Group.

ALAIN AFFLELOU will commence the communication and consultation process with employee representatives this week. This should result in completion of the transaction by June 2012, after it has been approved by the European Competition Authorities.

Founded in France in 1972, ALAIN AFFLELOU is the largest optical franchisor in Europe, with a network of nearly 1,100 optical retail stores across France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Morocco, Lebanon and Ivory Coast. The brand enjoys an unrivalled brand image in its core markets, with 98% brand awareness in France and leading levels of awareness in its other markets.

The company has achieved an impressive track record of growth of its retail network and financial performance over the last forty years by continual investment in communication and delivering consumers attractive optical solutions and innovative promotional offerings. In its most recent fiscal year, Alain Afflelou generated nearly €800 million of sales across its retail network. Bridgepoint has been the majority shareholder in ALAIN AFFLELOU since 2006.

Javier Ferrán, Partner of Lion Capital, said: "ALAIN AFFLELOU has established an enviable position within the optical retail industry in Europe by consistent communication to the consumer of innovative product solutions and attractive and creative promotional offerings. We look forward to working closely with Alain to support the continued growth of this exciting brand and believe we are uniquely positioned to contribute to this success as a result of our strategic focus on high quality consumer brands and deep experience within European retail."

Benoit Bassi, Partner responsible for Bridgepoint's investment activities in France said: "We have greatly enjoyed working with Alain Afflelou and his team to develop the outstanding optical retail business in Europe. We wish them every continued success under a new shareholder."

Alain Afflelou said: "I am pleased to be partnering with Lion Capital which has significant consumer sector expertise. With this new shareholder our brand will be perfectly placed to continue growing in France and other markets across Europe."

For this transaction, Bridgepoint was advised by Rothschild and Latham & Watkins and Lion Capital was advised by Lazard, J.P. Morgan, Citi and SJ Berwin. Financing is being provided by Citi, UniCredit and Alcentra. Alain Afflelou was advised by Jean-Didier Lange and management was advised by Scotto and Banque Privee 1818.

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