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OMERS Private Equity, an investment arm of the Ontario-based pension fund, has helped finance a management led buyout of the Great Expressions string of dental centres in seven U.S. states.

Financial terms of the deal, announced Friday, were not revealed.

The purchase of Great Expressions is being made from affiliates of private equity firm Audax Group.

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The dental practice management, or DPM, company has more than 1,800 clinical and support staff and provides a variety of dental services, from orthodontics and fillings to dental surgeries and cosmetic services.

"The benefits that the DPM industry offers to its patients, dentists and payors makes it an attractive investment opportunity for OMERS," said Michael Graham, head of U.S. private equity for OMERS – the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

"In particular, Great Expressions' focus on quality care, affordability and convenience has led to superior operational performance as well as compelling growth."

Chief executive Rich Beckman said Great Expressions is "excited to partner with a team who has experience in healthcare services and a long-term approach to investing."

"Great Expressions intends firstly to grow in its core markets of Florida, Georgia and Michigan, and then to seek attractive growth opportunities in its other markets. We believe OMERS Private Equity's knowledge of the DPM industry and commitment to our strategy will enhance our expansion."

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Great Expressions operates 152 dental offices in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, OMERS Private Equity manages investments of the Ontario pension fund and has more than $5.5-billion of investments under management in North America and Europe.

OMERS is one of Canada's largest pension funds with more than $55-billion in assets and more than 400,000 members who are active and retired municipal employees in Ontario.

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