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Onex to buy two health services cos

The private equity arm of Canadian conglomerate Onex has agreed to acquire subsidiaries American Medical Response and EmCare from Laidlaw International for approximately C$980m.

Onex Partners, the private equity division of Toronto-based conglomerate Onex Corporation, has agreed to buy American Medical Response (AMR) and EmCare, subsidiaries of publicly held Laidlaw International, for approximately C$980 million ($812 million, €605 million).

According to a statement, the investment will be made through Onex Partners and certain of its limited partners, which will invest approximately $260 million in equity. Senior management of the businesses will also be co-investors.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005.

AMR, based in Denver, is the largest US provider of ambulance transport services for communities, municipalities and other local government agencies. The company also provides non-emergency transports between healthcare facilities or from a healthcare facility to a patient’s home.

EmCare, based in Dallas, provides outsourced hospital emergency department physician staffing and management services, including recruiting, staff coordination, quality assurance, risk management and billing.

Onex Partners has been on a shopping spree as of late. Last month, the firm agreed to buy Cosmetic Essence from Florida-based private equity shop Brockway Moran & Partners in a transaction valued at C$300 million ($250 million; €194 million). In addition, the firm announced the purchase of Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI) in a transaction worth C$225 million ($184 million; €144 million). Onex will invest approximately C$93 million in equity, giving it an 84 percent stake in the company.

Onex Partners is a $2.2 billion private equity fund established by Onex Corporation. Onex Partners provides capital for new Onex-sponsored acquisitions not related to Onex Corp.’s existing operating companies. Onex Corp. has committed $525 million to Onex Partners, making it a 25 percent limited partner.