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BGF focuses on Bayfields Opticians with new investment

BGF News 06.24.2020

BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, has invested in Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists. 

BGF’s investment will be used to support the independent opticians and audiologists group’s organic growth – including further roll-out of its audiology services – as well as its acquisition strategy to double the number of sites over the next four years. 

Royston Bayfield, founder and CEO of Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, commented: “In the last 15 years, the Bayfields group has grown exceptionally well, whilst keeping front of mind our values, our local relationships with clients and our high-quality expertise through our expanding team of optometry and audiology specialists.

“The deal completed in March before lockdown, but our values are more important than ever in the current climate. We have been working extremely hard to create cutting-edge and unique client consultation processes to guarantee that healthcare appointments are COVID-19 secure, bringing together absolute safety without compromising service. As such, we have introduced BaySafe, our propriety brand, that signifies clinical excellence. This offers clients the confidence to manage and deal with eye strain, head pain, or less than perfect hearing in a safe and caring environment.”

He added: “We are delighted to be welcoming BGF to the Bayfields family as our long-term investment partner. The team has great sector expertise and a real understanding of our vision for the business, which will be invaluable as we enter this next stage of growth.”

Bayfields’ team of highly-trained optometrists offer eye exams and a wide range of high-quality designer glasses and contact lenses to clients across the UK. More recently, Bayfields has diversified its offering by introducing audiology services and hearing aids to its rapidly growing client base. It has also set up The Beyond Bayfields Charity, supporting the education of trainee optometrists in Sierra Leone and working with local schools in the UK to educate pupils on the importance of vision and eye testing.

Chris Boyes, an investor at BGF, commented: “We first met Royston and the team in 2015 and have since seen them expand the Bayfields brand impressively, developing a market-leading offering through investment in technology, expansion of its product ranges and a commitment to the highest quality of care for its growing customer base. 

“We are excited to be joining the business. The market for growth through acquisitions in this sector is significant, and with a proven management team and strong central platform, Bayfields is in a strong position to capitalise on growth opportunities in the future.” 

Founded at a single site in 2004 by optometrist Royston Bayfield, the business has since grown to 19 practices – including sites in County Durham, Lancashire, Hampshire, Surrey and Yorkshire – with 13 sites acquired within the last four years alone. The group currently employs more than 160 staff across the UK, including 70 specialists, and has revenues of £12m.

Paul Herriott, Corporate Finance Director at DSW, which advised the company on the transaction, commented: “We have admired Bayfields’ customer proposition and growth ambitions over recent years and are delighted to have advised Royston and the team on securing this important investment. The partnership between Bayfields and BGF will undoubtedly support the business to achieve even greater success in this very specialist and evolving market.” 

The investment was led for BGF by Chris Boyes and Mark Rigby. The advisors to the transaction were: Sandip Khroud, Gateleys Plc, for BGF; Paul Herriot and Roger Esler (DSW), and Marcus Armstrong (Shulmans), for Bayfields Opticians.