Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to buy majority stake in Heartland Dental Care

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan yesterday agreed to buy a majority stake in US dental practice management firm Heartland Dental Care Inc, for an undisclosed sum.

Ontario Teachers, one of Canada's largest pension funds, outbid other private equity firm, including KKR & Co, Madison Dearborn Partners, and Apax Partners, who were also in the race for the Effingham, Illinois-based company.

As part of the transaction, Heartland Dental Care founder and CEO Dr. Rick Workman, management and employees will retain a significant minority stake in the company.

Several media reports speculated that Heartland Dental Care, in which Chicago-based private equity firm CHS Capital owns a stake, is valued at around $1.3 billion.

Heartland Dental Care is one of the leading dental services company in the US with more than 375 affiliated dental offices located in18 states providing dentists with administrative services such as personnel staffing, purchasing, and financial, marketing and technology support.

"Having Teachers' as a partner will provide us with a stable platform to continue to grow by providing support services to other dental offices throughout the country and providing new and exciting opportunities to assist dentists in the efficient and effective management of their offices," said Dr. Workman.

"Our investment in Heartland Dental Care is supported by favourable fundamentals and demographics.  We have been impressed with their dedication to providing high-quality support services to dental practices that reduce the administrative burdens on dentists.  These services allow dentists to focus on quality patient care and expansion of the delivery of dental care in their communities," said Jane Rowe, senior vice president of Teachers' Private Capital, the investment division of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

With $117.1 billion, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada.  An independent organisation, it invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 300,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.