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Canadian private equity group Onex sells interest in medical services company, makes six times return

13 Aug 2009

Onex, a Canadian private equity firm, has sold part of its interest in Emergency Medical Services Corporation in a secondary offering of 9.2 million shares of class A common stock at a price of $40 per share.

The transaction, representing the sale of approximately 29 per cent of the Onex group’s interest in EMSC, included the exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares to cover over-allotments.

Of the total offering, Onex Corporation sold approximately 3.5 million shares for net proceeds of approximately $137m, including carried interest. Based on a per-share cash cost of $6.67 to acquire the business in 2005, Onex received a multiple of invested capital of almost six times what it paid initially.

With the completion of the offering, the Onex group will continue to own approximately 54 per cent of EMSC’s equity, of which Onex’s share is approximately 20 per cent.

Robert Le Blanc, managing director of Onex, said, “The EMSC management team has done an excellent job of transforming the company into a leading provider of emergency medical services in the United States. We look forward to working closely with the company to further build on its tremendous success and find opportunities to grow organically and through acquisitions.”

Onex is one of North America’s oldest private equity firms. The company claims to manage approximately $10bn. Onex says its businesses generate annual revenues of $33bn, have assets of $40bn and employ 211,000 people worldwide.

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