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HomeminewsHanks, Eyecare Partners Sever Ties

Hanks, Eyecare Partners Sever Ties

Dr. and Mrs. Tony Hanks have decided to severe financial ties with Eyecare Partners Limited (EPL) in an amicable agreement announced to the Australian Stock Exchange on 19 October.

Under the agreement EPL will buy back all EPL shares currently owned by the Hanks Entities. The Hanks Entities will purchase six optometry practices from Eyecare Partners. Subject to adjustments, the total financial transaction has been specified as over AUD$2.5million ($AUD1.35 million cash and almost AUD$1.2 in promissory notes).

In July, Eyecare Partners and Eyecare Plus announced that Eyecare Partners (EPL) 38 stores would leave the Eyecare Plus co-operative group. At that time, Eyecare Plus CEO Michael Jacobs said “Tony and Vicki Hanks have shares in EPL, just like a lot of other Eyecare Plus members and optometrists generally. However, for some time they have not been involved in any decision making related to the operations or management of Eyecare Partners or any of its practices. They made this decision specifically to avoid any ‘conflict of interest’ situations that might arise. Their efforts are 100 per cent directed to supporting Eyecare Plus, the group that they both founded.”

Then, in an official statement on 19 October, Ray Fortescue, Eyecare Partners’ Chairman of the Board said: “Since we announced the decision to re-brand many of our practices from “Eyecare Plus” to “EyeQ Optometrists”, we’ve been working with Dr. and Mrs. Hanks to find an appropriate resolution to the strategic conflict that arose from their major shareholding in both EPL and Eyecare Plus Limited.

We believe the transaction we are announcing today is a win/win for all concerned

“We believe the transaction we are announcing today is a win/win for all concerned.”

Under the agreement, Hanks Entities will purchase practices in Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Gympie, Cannonvale and Proserpine.

Following delivery of an independent expert’s report, EPL expects to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting for shareholders to consider and, if thought fit, approve the buyback. EPL expects the transactions to be completed in January 2012.