AEA said to seek 1-800 Contacts sale, could see company valued at over $2bn

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AEA Investors is following last month’s $5.7bn double fund close with a potential sale of 1-800 Contacts, which could value the company at more than $2bn, it has emerged.

AEA has brought in Goldman Sachs to explore the sale process for 1-800, Reuters reported, citing unnamed people it said were familiar with the matter.

It said the company currently has an EBITDA of about $150m. AEA bought 1-800 from fellow private equity house Thomas H Lee Partners in 2015.

The Utah-headquartered business specialises in selling contact lenses online, offering a lowest-price guarantee and free delivery.

AEA hit a $4.8bn hard cap for AEA Investors Fund VII last month after securing commitments from more than 130 institutional investors globally.

The firm also raised $877m for the final close of its fourth Small Business Fund, AEA Investors SBF IV.

Fund VII pulled in significantly more capital than the $3.2bn raised for its sixth flagship fund three years ago.

Last month Partners Group sealed a buyout of FFL Capital-backed optometry and ophthalmology business EyeCare Partners in a reported $2.2bn deal.

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