February 3, 2021
CECOP announced that it has acquired The Alliance Buying Group (“ABG”), achieving an important milestone in the company’s growth strategy in the US market: its second acquisition. CECOP now serves more than 2,000 independent optical stores and optometry practices with great deals and profit optimizing services. Translink acted as advisor to the buyer.
The acquisition is part of CECOP’s aggressive strategy to acquire significant market share in North America and demonstrate its commitment to the US market. In March 2020, CECOP acquired New York based Combine Buying Group and has grown that business by 40% in just 9 months. To accomplish these accelerated results, CECOP has leveraged proven strategies for success gleaned from nearly 25 years of growth in the independent optical market globally, plus market insights locally, delivering unmatched value to members and partner suppliers across the US.
Founded in 1996 as an alliance to help independent opticians compete with larger, corporate providers and retailers, CECOP has evolved into a global association delivering collective buying power, operational best practices, strategic solutions and other services to 5,000 independent opticians and optometrists and more than 120 brand partners across Europe and Latin America. CECOP helps members most effectively manage their businesses and grow customer loyalty; it also helps partner manufacturers in the optical space reach, build brand awareness, and grow business with an active group of buyers.
“CECOP will work hard to prove our value to The Alliance Buying Group members,” said CECOP Founder and CEO Jorge Rubio. “With our quick success operating Combine Buying Group, we’ve validated that our business model delivers meaningful impact for opticians and optometrists in the US. We are committed to continue bringing the advancements we’ve developed in the European and Latin American markets to our new North American customers and know that they’ll benefit significantly from the solutions we have planned. Our goal is to be a true partner to eye care entrepreneurs, earning their trust by helping them achieve their dreams.”
“This is a big win for Alliance Buying Group members and vendors. I can assure you that the transition to new ownership will be smooth, with uninterrupted operations,” said Craig Hethcox, Vice President, Surgery Partners, parent company of ABG. “CECOP will provide members a steady stream of deals and services to improve profitability, plus innovative new programs already proven in the US market, which is really exciting. And with CECOP’s growing portfolio of independent optical and optometrist retailers, the brands and vendors that have worked with ABG can look forward to marketing opportunities with a highly engaged audience.”
Driving CECOP’s success internationally and domestically has been its ability to collaborate with local partners who can add to the value proposition of independent optometrists—particularly in these challenging conditions. “We are continually growing the network of manufacturers and brands that cater to members across the US,” said Ignacio Macias, CEO, CECOP North America. “We know that independent optometrists across North America will find in our community a fundamental place of collaboration to successfully overcome market challenges and provide great value to patients. We are excited about the Alliance Buying Group Acquisition and look forward to additional acquisitions expected in 2021.”
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Dinan & Company, LLC is the partner firm of Translink Corporate Finance in the United States. It is a leading diversified financial services company with over 32 years of advisory and merchant banking experience dedicated to middle-market transactions.