| NEW YORK, June 20
NEW YORK, June 20 Private equity firm Leonard
Green & Partners LP is nearing a deal to buy United States
Infrastructure Corporation (USIC), two people familiar with the
matter said this week, in a deal that could be valued at between
$700 million and $800 million.
The acquisition would be atypical for Leonard Green, which
is known primarily for its investments in the retail and
USIC maintains the underground cables of telecommunications,
power and water utilities, and is owned by Ontario Municipal
Employees Retirement System (OMERS), one of Canada's largest
But Leonard Green, which has a mandate from its investors to
invest in business services, has always considered USIC a
people's business and is attracted to the cash generated by its
4,300 technicians who look after the assets of most of the top
U.S. utilities, one of the people said.
The people asked not to be identified because the matter is
confidential. They cautioned that the negotiations had not yet
been fully finalized and could still fall apart. Representatives
of Leonard Green, USIC and OMERS could not be immediately
reached for comment.
USIC's niche market for utility line-locating services was
valued by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services at $1.6 billion
Indianapolis-based USIC was formed in 2008 when private
equity firm Kohlberg & Co acquired and merged two companies
active in the underground locating and marking service sector -
SM&P Utility Resources Inc and Central Locating Service Ltd.
In just over a year, USIC's EBITDA had grown by 65 percent,
according to Kohlberg's website. In 2010, Kohlberg sold USIC to
the private equity arm of OMERS for an undisclosed amount.
Leonard Green was also vying for USIC then, one of the people
USIC was OMERS' second private equity deal in the United
States following its acquisition of rail maintenance equipment
company Nordco Inc in 2009.
Based in Los Angeles, Leonard Green has raised over $15
billion for private equity investments since its inception in
1989. These investments includes retailer BJ's Wholesale Club
Inc, apparel and accessories chain J. Crew Group Inc and
supermarket operator Whole Foods Market Inc.