Gryphon and Portfolio Company News

Bright Now! Dental, Inc., Announces the Addition of Castle Dental Centers, Inc.

Santa Ana, CA -

Bright Now! Dental, Inc., today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Houston, Texas-based Castle Dental Centers, Inc. (CASL.OB), pursuant to which Castle Dental will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Bright Now. The closing of the merger is subject to the satisfaction of various conditions, including Bright Now’s completion of financing arrangements. Bright Now’s financing will be led by its primary equity sponsor, Gryphon Investors, Inc. Stockholders of Castle Dental will receive $0.1572 per share in cash upon completion of the merger.

Steven C. Bilt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bright Now, said, “Bright Now has been expanding rapidly due to significant growth in existing offices and exceptionally strong results in the new offices that we’ve developed, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to increase the pace of our growth.”

“Castle Dental is an excellent strategic fit for our company,” Bilt continued. “It’s a natural combination of two highly complementary businesses, both with outstanding field operating teams, similar business models, and, most important, great doctors. The company has a long and rich operating history and excellent locations that are a great supplement to our existing affiliated practices.”

“Castle is a significant addition to the Bright Now family,” said Bilt. “This merger expands our extensive national presence to nearly 300 offices in 19 states and strengthens our position as the leading company in the dental practice management field.”

John M. Slack, Chief Executive Officer of Castle Dental, said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Bright Now and its investor group. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by joining forces with Bright Now and believe that the proposed transaction provides liquidity for our stockholders and is in the best interests of Castle Dental and all of its constituencies, including employees, affiliated dentists, and patients.”

Kurt Kaull, partner at Gryphon Investors, said, “Based on Gryphon’s success with Bright Now and its 2003 acquisition of Monarch Dental Corporation, we are well positioned to complete the cash merger with Castle Dental. We believe that Castle, based on its high quality management team, outstanding doctor base, and excellent locations, will greatly enhance Bright Now’s position as the industry leader.”

“Castle Dental is an outstanding company, and we are pleased that we were able to work with management to enhance performance in a relatively short time frame,” said David Lobel, Chairman of the Board of Castle Dental and Managing Partner of Sentinel Capital Partners. Sentinel acquired approximately 60% of Castle Dental in 2003. “Castle is well positioned to expand in its existing markets and we are confident that the talented team at Bright Now will successfully apply their expertise and resources to achieve continued growth.”

About Bright Now! Dental, Inc.

Bright Now! Dental, Inc., and its subsidiaries, Monarch Dental Corporation and Newport Dental Plan, provide business support services to 200 dental offices in 18 states nationwide. Affiliated and staff dentists deliver general, specialty, and cosmetic care to more than 1.5 million patients each year. Bright Now’s mission is to take care of the time-consuming business functions of running dental practices in order to free dentists to focus on delivering high-quality dental care, superior service, and exceptional value to patients. Bright Now assumes responsibility for support services such as finance, real estate development, sales and marketing, human resources, information technology, and purchasing, while dentists retain responsibility for all clinical matters. Based in Santa Ana, California, Bright Now and its affiliated dentists employ approximately 3,300 people. Bright Now’s majority shareholder is Gryphon Investors, Inc., a leading middle-market private equity firm with approximately $500 million of capital under management. For more information, visit

About Castle Dental Centers, Inc.

Castle Dental Centers, Inc., and its affiliated practices provide dental services to 73 dental offices in Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and California. Its affiliated general dentists and dental specialists, including orthodontists, pedodontists, and oral surgeons, deliver care to more than 500,000 patients per year. Based in Houston, Texas, Castle Dental traces its roots back to 1948 when Dr. Jack H. Castle began his first dental practice. Today the company and its affiliated dentists employ approximately 900 people. For more information, visit


Ellie Ballew

Bright Now! Dental Inc., Santa Ana
714-428-1214 or 949-400-7907