Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Vancouver entrepreneur and financier Roger Hardy is getting back into the online eyewear business, five years after selling his publicly traded Coastal Contacts Inc. for $430-million.

Mr. Hardy’s investment firm Hardy Capital announced on Wednesday that it has purchased privately held LD Vision Group, a 17-year-old Richmond, B.C.-based company that it described as North America’s second-largest independent direct retailer in eye care through such websites as OptiContacts.com and ContactsExpress.ca. The company, co-founded by president Arshil Abdulla and managed with two of his brothers, had never previously raised outside capital. LD had sales of about $50-million last year and its margin for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was in the double digits, Mr. Hardy said.

The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company confirmed it was a cash-and-stock transaction valuing the company at approximately $70-million.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Hardy said his firm had been looking to invest in consumer business in the past few years “and the more we looked, the more we sort of saw that optical still has a great opportunity. Customers are still underserved. It was time to see if we could do something in the space.”

Mr. Abdulla in an interview said he and his brothers decided to sell “to take the company to the next level. We just needed to find the right partner that had the know-how and track record to do it.”

Hardy Capital said it plans to announce “broader expansion plans” into the eyewear industry in the coming months. He said LD has been primarily focused on selling contact lenses, offering technology that allows customers to do their own eye tests online in 34 states in the United States, where LD derives about 80 per cent of sales. Mr. Abdulla said the eye test wasn’t yet available in Canada, adding “we can’t really disclose at what stage we’re at.” He added that a recent court ruling in Ontario was “favorable to us and will mean online eye care and eyewear will be more accessible to Canadians.”

"We think this [self-eye-test offering] will be a bit of a game changer,” Mr. Hardy said. "That’s a key piece of this. We found the technology platform these guys have is one of the best-kept secrets in the industry.

The deal follows a previous investment by the Vancouver firm last year in Privé Revaux, a U.S. maker of trendy eyewear targeted at millennials and popularized by such celebrities as Jamie Foxx and Hailee Steinfeld.

After selling Coastal Contacts to Essilor International SA, Mr. Hardy led an unsuccessful foray into the online shoe-selling business, backing and briefly leading Shoes.com Technologies Inc., which shut down and filed for creditor protection in early 2017. He was also on the losing end of a boardroom battle over Vancouver fintech Payfirma Corp., when shareholders voted in October, 2017, to oust him and two other directors over clashing visions for the future of the company, which was sold several months later.

Asked if Mr. Hardy, who served as CEO of Coastal and Shoes, would take on the CEO role at LD, Mr. Abdulla replied that Mr. Hardy had become acting CEO “until we decide what extent he wants to be involved.” Mr. Hardy said his role “is really just to try to stay out of the way of all these great people and try to help them when they get stuck and provide resources whenever they need.”

Story continues below advertisement

LD is adding former Goldman Sachs Investment Partners managing director Sabrina Liak as chief financial officer, and chief marketing officer Joseph Thompson, who was previously worked for Amazon, Procter & Gamble and Vancouver’s BuildDirect.com Technologies, an online marketplace for construction materials.

Hardy Capital’s other investments include real estate development projects in Vancouver and elsewhere in B.C., and venture financing to a range of early-stage companies in North America.

Editor’s note: LD Vision group has a double-digit margin for margin for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, Roger Hardy said. An earlier version of this story said the company’s EBITDA were $10-million.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies