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3i seals second Brazil investment with Óticas Carol deal

8 Mar 2013

sunglassesUK-based private equity firm 3i Group has led a consortium in a BRL108m (£36.4m) investment in Brazilian glasses seller Óticas Carol.

US investment firms Neuberger Berman and Siguler Guff co-invested alongside 3i in the deal, which see them become stakeholders in the country’s second-largest eyewear retailer.

The company has 490 stores across 235 cities thanks to its franchising model, which has attracted existing optical retailers.

3i said its investment would support the OC management team’s plan to continue expanding across Brazil as well as providing retail expertise and advice.

Siguler Guff’s São Paulo office head Cesar Collier said, “OC fits perfectly into Siguler Guff’s emerging markets investment strategy which focuses on opportunities generated from middle class per capita income growth and increasing consumption.

“As we have seen in other consumer sectors in Brazil and in more developed markets, we believe that OC is an ideal candidate to lead the consolidation of Brazil’s fragmented eyewear market.

“After successfully co-investing with 3i in Blue Interactive, we look forward to working together to position OC to take advantage of continued growth in the eyewear market.”

3i paid about $55m for a minority stake in TV and broadband provider Blue Interactive in December 2011 to mark the firm’s debut in the Brazilian market.

In November 2012 it emerged 3i was looking to launch a $500m fund in Brazil in 2013, marking one of the FTSE 250-listed firm’s first efforts to expand amid a radical strategy overhaul.

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