J.W. Childs Associates Acquires a Majority Interest in EbLens

From: BusinessWire
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–J.W. Childs Associates, L.P., an operationally focused private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts and recapitalizations of middle-market growth companies, today announced it has acquired a majority interest in EbLens LLC, a lifestyle retailer of urban-inspired footwear, apparel and accessories, from KarpReilly, LLC.

EbLens, founded in 1949, operates 44 stores throughout the northeastern U.S. Chief Executive Officer Richard Seaman, son of founder Len Seaman, commented, “We appreciate the support of KarpReilly in our growth and look forward to another investment partner with deep retail and consumer expertise in J.W. Childs. With their support we will continue to focus on engaging with local communities and delivering high quality lifestyle footwear and apparel to our urban consumers as we continue to accelerate new store growth.”

“EbLens has a proud history with deep focus on customer service and merchandising,” said Jeff Teschke, a Partner at J.W. Childs. “We look forward to working closely with Richard and the rest of the management team in support of further retail expansion of a unique urban concept delivering world-class brands to consumers in a vibrant and energetic format.”

Four executives from J.W. Childs will join the EbLens Board of Directors: Partners Jeff Teschke and Bill Watts, Operating Partner Joe Fortunato, along with Principal Jeff Miller. Executives and representatives of KarpReilly, LLC, which had a controlling interest in the company since 2012, will step down from their respective Board positions.

Joe Fortunato, Operating Partner at J.W. Childs and former CEO of GNC will be appointed Chairman of the Board, working closely with Mr. Seaman and management. Joe commented, “I’ve been actively involved in numerous specialty retailers over the last three decades and am extremely impressed with the best-in-class performance the EbLens management team has delivered. I’m excited to be working closely with Richard and the team as they continue to grow and develop the EbLens brand both within and around New England.”

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP served as legal counsel to J.W. Childs. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel and Robert W. Baird & Co. as financial advisor to EbLens.

About EbLens

EbLens is a lifestyle retailer of urban-inspired footwear, apparel and accessories. EbLens features regular releases of exclusive and limited-edition footwear as well as the most sought-after and hottest premium brands, including Nike, Jordan, adidas, Timberland, Polo, The North Face, Lacoste and Nautica, among others. Through a growing footprint of 44 stores in key New England and New York markets, EbLens is emerging as a destination for consumers seeking on-trend fashion. EbLens is headquartered in Torrington, Connecticut. For more information, please visit www.eblens.com.

About J.W. Childs Associates, L.P.

J.W. Childs is a Boston-based private equity firm focused on investing in middle-market growth companies. Since inception in 1995, J.W. Childs has invested in excess of $3.4 billion of equity capital in more than 47 companies across the consumer, specialty retail and healthcare industries. The firm’s success has been built on its industry focus and the extensive operating expertise of its partners. For more information, please visit www.jwchilds.com.

J.W. Childs Associates, L.P.
Philippe Schenk, 1-617-753-1100