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German eyewear firm to acquire Shopko Optical

Shopko Optical
Shopko Optical operates more than 140 stores.

The only part of discount retailer Shopko that remains in business is getting a new owner that has its sights set on expanding in the U.S. 

Fielmann USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Fielmann Group AG, has entered into an agreement to acquire Shopko Optical from investment firm Monarch Alternative Capital LP. Based in Hamburg, Germany, Fielmann is a leading global eyewear provider. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Shopko Optical was formed as a standalone company in 2019 through Monarch's purchase of 80 store-in-store optical units from Shopko Stores, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 and went on to liquidate operations. Monarch transitioned the in-store units into freestanding stores. 

During the past five years, Shopko Optical has nearly doubled its store count and expanded its store footprint into several new states. The company currently operates more than 140 stores in Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

"Monarch Alternative Capital has been a fantastic partner and advocate of Shopko Optical over the last five years," said Russ Steinhorst, CEO of Shopko Optical, which is based in Green Bay, Wis. "They saw the potential early on and fully supported the team as it executed the initial establishment of the company and carveout of 80 locations, followed by resources and guidance to grow to the 145 locations we have today.  

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Fielmann entered the U.S. market in 2023 through its acquisition of online eyewear retailer Befitting as well as SVS Vision, an optical retailer that operates 80 stores across nine U.S. states, a market-leading position in Michigan.

“Our acquisition of Shopko Optical is in line with our Vision 2025 growth strategy to expand our business further internationally, particularly in the US market,” said Marc Fielmann, CEO of the Fielmann Group. “This acquisition is the next step in our long-term plan to re-define what US consumers can expect of eyecare and eyewear.”

Upon closing of the deal, Fielmann USA intends to integrate Shopko Optical into its omnichannel platform that would serve customers via digital sales channels and more than 220 retail practices across 19 U.S. states, predominantly in the Midwest.

Jefferies LLC is acting as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal advisor to Shopko Optical. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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