June 11, 2012 / 2:22 PM / in 5 years

OMERS private equity arm to buy UK's Lifeways

* OMERS sees scope to expand supported living services in UK

* Deal value undisclosed; FT reports pegs value at $319 mln

* OMERS plans to expand Lifeways business in UK

TORONTO, June 11 (Reuters) - The private equity arm of Canadian pension fund OMERS said on Monday it will buy Lifeways, a British provider of services for adults with learning disabilities, from private equity firm August Equity, saying it sees great scope for expanding supported living services in Britain.

Neither OMERS nor August disclosed the value of the deal. A report in the Financial Times pegged its value at 207 million pounds ($319.14 million).

OMERS Private Equity, an arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Management System, one of Canada’s largest pension funds, said the specialist care sector in Britain is highly fragmented and presents significant opportunities for consolidation.

The fund, along with Lifeways management, plans to expand the business both organically and via acquisitions under the leadership of Lifeways’ Chief Executive Paul Marriner.

Earlier this year OMERS said it planned to do as many as three major acquisitions this year for its private markets portfolio.

The Lifeways deal is the third direct investment completed by the OMERS European private equity team, which was established in 2009.

Last year, it led a $520 million buyout of V. Group, a global provider of independent management services for the shipping industry. In 2009, the firm invested in Haymarket Financial, a provider of credit financing to middle-market European businesses.

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