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How many people in N. America actually run the show? The same old cast of characters always seem to turn up on stage when the curtain rises...

The following is just a few paragraphs from a G and M article.


Onex bets on U.S. health care

Onex Corp. is placing a $980-million bet on the U.S. health sector, buying two companies in a deal that will make it one of America's largest private providers of emergency medical care.

The Toronto-based leveraged buyout firm will acquire American Medical Response Inc. (AMR) and EmCare Inc. from Laidlaw International Inc., the former Canadian transportation company that emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year after a disastrous acquisition spree in the late 1990s.

AMR runs a fleet of about 4,000 ambulances and wheelchair vans for local municipalities and government agencies in 34 states, and had $1-billion (U.S.) in revenue in fiscal 2004. EmCare is an outsourcing company that recruits doctors and provides administration services to hospitals to help them run their emergency departments. It had $550-million in revenue last year.

Onex will make the acquisition through Onex Partners LP, a new private equity fund. The fund and other investors, including AMR and EmCare management, will put up $260-million (Canadian) of the purchase price and borrow the rest.



The deal brings Onex chief executive officer Gerry Schwartz together again with Kevin Benson, his former ally in the battle for control of the Canadian aviation industry.

Mr. Benson, now Laidlaw's CEO, was running Canadian Airlines when Onex tried, unsuccessfully, to rescue the failing airline in 1999 by buying it and Air Canada and merging the two.


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