Gryphon Investors, the San Francisco-based private equity firm, announced today that it sold a majority interest in Bright Now! Dental Inc., one of its portfolio companies, to Freeman Spogli. Dentists affiliated with Bright Now! provide general, specialty and cosmetic care to more than 2.5 million patients each year. Over the past six years, Gryphon has grown the company from a $30 million revenue platform to over $350 million today, to become the national leader. Gryphon acquired Bright Now! Dental in May 1998, and will continue as a minority investor. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
David Andrews, Managing Partner and President of Gryphon Investors said, “Bright Now! has been a terrific investment for Gryphon and one where we overcame a number of initial challenges shared by other private equity firms that entered the industry during the same period. Working closely with management, we made two very significant investments with the acquisitions of Monarch Dental in 2003 and Castle Dental in 2004, which were smoothly integrated into the operations and solidified Bright Now’s position as the industry leader.”
Steven C. Bilt, President and CEO of Bright Now, said, “Gryphon has been a great, value-added partner for Bright Now over the last six years, having led our add-on acquisitions and provided invaluable assistance to senior management through its Operations Resources Group.”
In addition, Kurt Kaull, Partner and Head of the Consumer/Retail Group at Gryphon said, “Bright Now! continues to have tremendous potential as we have made significant investments in Bright Now’s infrastructure and have executed a complete build out of a new clinic roll-out team, which have positioned the company well for future growth. We are excited to continue to participate as a minority shareholder and to work with Steve Bilt, who we recruited to the position of President and CEO in 2000.”
Through acquisitions and organic growth, Bright Now! Dental has become the leading dental practice management company providing business support services to approximately 300 dental offices in 19 states. Based in Santa Ana, California, Bright Now! and its affiliated dentists employ approximately 4,300 people nationwide.
UBS Investment Bank and Latham & Watkins LLP advised Bright Now! in this transaction.
About Gryphon Investors
Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors focuses on leveraged acquisitions of, and growth investments in, middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. Having managed more than $1 billion of discretionary equity capital, Gryphon has an extensive track record of investing $25 to $75 million of its own capital in companies with sales ranging from $25 to $250 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, professional resources and significant financial and operational expertise. Visit www.gryphoninvestors.com for more information.
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