Expansion drive continues at acquisitive opticians and audiologists group

Royston Bayfield

Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists has accelerated its growth ambitions, following its acquisition of two multi-site optical groups.

The Yorkshire-based independent opticians and audiologists, which is backed by growth capital investor BGF, says it is on track to exceed its growth target of 50 practices by the end of 2023, after acquiring Robert Stanley (Opticians) and Prism Partnership.

Prism operates five practices across the North West, trading as Oldbury & Cruickshank Optometrists in Macclesfield, the original business set up by Nigel and Jean Oldbury; I Wear Opticians in Nantwich and Tarporley; and Broad Opticians in Alsager and Sandbach.

As part of the deal, Nigel and Jean Oldbury will help facilitate a smooth handover and then retire from the business.

Robert Stanley – co-owned by John Edwards and Jerry Salmon, the son of the original founder, Donald Salmon – has five practices across the Oxford region, including Bicester, Abingdon, Thame, Headington and Wallingford.

Following the deal, Salmon will retire from his role; however, Edwards will continue in his position to help drive the practices forward.

Edwards said: “Bayfields has gained a strong reputation in the independent market – not only for its insatiable appetite to grow, but also its firm commitment to maintaining an unequivocal focus on the community and clients in which it serves.

“We have every confidence that the business Jerry and I have worked hard to build in recent years will continue to thrive under the Bayfields banner.”

The latest deal activity brings the number of practices within the group to 41 – jumping from 33 since the start of the year.

Royston Bayfield, founder and CEO of Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, said: “So far, 2022 has exceeded all expectations, in terms of our drive toward the half century milestone by the end of 2023 and our ambitions to be a recognised independent brand in key locations up and down the country.

“Robert Stanley and Prism are two excellent businesses which are well established, trusted and have strong brand recognition in their local communities, all of which are key elements that are vital to our future success.”

In March 2020, BGF invested in Bayfields to support the group’s organic growth – including further roll-out of its audiology services – as well as its ambitious acquisition strategy.

Chris Boyes, an investor at BGF, said: “Bayfields has started the year as it means to go on – targeting highly complementary businesses that not only enhance the portfolio, but quickly extend its reach into important strategic locations.”