Ballard Spahr advised contact lens and eyewear retailer 1-800-Contacts in its sale by WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP), to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. The firm also advised the company in the sale of its website and virtual try-on technology to Luxottica Group, the Italian eyewear company. The transactions are expected to close in the first quarter of 2014 pending customary regulatory approval. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

1-800-Contacts is the largest retailer of contact lenses in the United States. It has served more than 8 million customers, stocks more than 15 million contact lenses, and delivers more than 200,000 lenses each day. Through its division, 1-800-Contacts offered name-brand glasses and a patented and patent-pending 3Dfit Technology, which allows customers to try on glasses virtually.

Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P., is a North American-based private equity firm that invests in growth-oriented global businesses in three sectors: consumer and health care, media and information services, and business and financial services. Since its founding in 1974, it has raised approximately $20 billion of equity capital and invested in more than 100 businesses with an aggregate purchase price of more than $150 billion.

Luxottica Group operates approximately 7,000 optical and retail stores worldwide. Proprietary brands include Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Persol, and licensed brands include Giorgio Armani, Bulgari, Chanel, and Coach. In addition to a global wholesale network involving 130 different countries, the Group manages leading retail chains, including LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, and ILORI in North America; OPSM and Laubman & Pank in Asia-Pacific; LensCrafters in China; GMO in Latin America; and Sunglass Hut worldwide. In 2012, Luxottica Group posted net sales of more than Euro 7 billion.

The Ballard Spahr team that took part in this transaction was led by David R. Rudd (M&A, Business and Finance), and included Leslie E. John (Antitrust, Litigation), Theresa A. Foxley (M&A, Business and Finance), Alissa L. Neufeld (M&A, Business and Finance), Jess C. Theodore (M&A, Business and Finance), Steven J. Newman (Real Estate), and Fran Glushakow Gould (Real Estate).

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Mergers and Acquisitions/Private Equity
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