Gryphon Investors Acquires Smile Brands

Reinvests in Former Portfolio Company, A Leading U.S. Dental Services Organization

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gryphon Investors (“Gryphon”), a leading middle-market private equity firm based in San Francisco, announced today that it has acquired Smile Brands Group, Inc., a leading national provider of support services to dental practices. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Smile Brands is bringing healthy smiles to millions of Americans who seek access to high quality, comprehensive general and specialty dental care. We are pleased to support Steve and Brad with Gryphon’s financial and operational resources as they continue to expand and enhance that model.”

Gryphon previously owned Bright Now! Dental, Inc., a Smile Brands predecessor company, from 1998 until it sold a majority of its shares in 2005. In June 2015, Gryphon formed a partnership with Steven C. Bilt and Bradley E. Schmidt to establish OneSmile, LLC (“OneSmile”), with the goal of building a comprehensive Dental Services Organization (“DSO”) platform to acquire existing dental practices.

Mr. Bilt, a 17-year veteran of the dental industry and OneSmile’s CEO, will become CEO of Smile Brands, a position he held in his previous tenure at that company. Mr. Schmidt, OneSmile’s CFO, will take on the role of Smile Brands’ CFO, a position he too held previously.

Mr. Bilt, who is also a founding member and former director and president of the Association of Dental Support Organizations (“ADSO”), said, “Brad and I are excited to rejoin the company we helped to found in 1998 and to work again with its talented and dedicated group of professionals. Dental care makes a critical difference in people's lives, and Smile Brands makes that care accessible. With this outstanding team, our committed capital partners, and our experience in this industry, we will continue to pursue our mission of delivering Smiles for Everyone.”

Nick Orum, Gryphon’s President and Head of its Healthcare Group, said, “This is an exciting time to re-enter the dental sector, where we invested successfully in the past, and we believe we are well-positioned to add value. We look forward to working again with a company and leadership team we know well and hold in high regard.”

Luke Schroeder, a Principal in Gryphon’s Healthcare Group, added, “Smile Brands is bringing healthy smiles to millions of Americans who seek access to high quality, comprehensive general and specialty dental care. We are pleased to support Steve and Brad with Gryphon’s financial and operational resources as they continue to expand and enhance that model.”

Houlihan Lokey acted as the financial advisor to Gryphon, and Moelis & Company LLC as the financial advisor to Smile Brands Group, Inc. Kirkland & Ellis, LLP acted as the legal advisor to Gryphon and Ropes & Gray LLP was the legal advisor to Smile Brands Group, Inc.

About Smile Brands

Based in Irvine California, Smile Brands Inc. is one of the largest providers of support services to dental groups in the United States. Smile Brands Inc. provides comprehensive business support services through exclusive long term agreements with affiliate dental groups, so dentists can spend more time caring for their patients and less time on the administrative, marketing and financial aspects of operating a dental practice. Smile Brands supports nearly 350 Bright Now!® Dental, Monarch Dental®, and Castle Dental® offices in 17 states nationwide.

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors (www.gryphoninvestors.com) is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. For four consecutive years, Gryphon has been ranked in Preqin’s prestigious quarterly PE report as one of North America’s top-decile firms based on consistency of strong investment returns. With over $2 billion of cumulative equity commitments, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of $35 million to $150 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $50 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.

Release Date: 
Thu, 2016-08-18