Black Pearl to buy Florida-based maker of contact lenses

Black Pearl Global Investments, an asset-management firm based in Charlotte, has agreed to buy a Florida company that makes contact lenses.

When the deal is completed, Black Pearl will be the world’s only contact lens manufacturer that is both Black- and woman-owned, according to a press release Monday announcing the planned acquisition.

“It’s exciting to celebrate this milestone as we close out National Black Business Month,” Black Pearl CEO Shante Williams said in the statement.

The investment firm didn’t say how much it would pay to buy Hydrogel Vision Corp, which is based in Sarasota and has 38 employees.

The pending deal is the latest in a string of business moves announced by Black Pearl.

In June, the firm announced plans to launch a lending arm focused on making microloans to small, Black-owned businesses. At the time, Black Pearl listed its investment portfolio at $25 million.

Once its latest deal is completed, Black Pearl Vision — the Florida company’s new name — will distribute contact lenses to North America and the European Union, with possible expansion to Africa, the Caribbean and parts of Asia, Williams said.

Founded in 2017, Black Pearl has focused on investing in startup companies working to reduce health disparities.

Among its current holdings are AbsoluteJOI, a skincare company; Mahmee, a platform that connects expecting mothers with neonatal and maternal healthcare services and providers; and Kayan Health, a telehealth platform.

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