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OMERS Private Equity’s Asia-Pacific head David Payne departs

The PE group is planning to ratchet up its activity in Asia, Michael Graham, OMERS’ recently installed global head of private equity, told Buyouts in April.

David Payne, an OMERS Private Equity managing director responsible for Asia-Pacific activity, left the firm last month, a person with knowledge of the matter told Buyouts.

It is not known why Payne left or what his future plans might be. OMERS, a C$109 billion ($82 billion) Canadian pension fund, declined to comment.

Payne played a key role in establishing OMERS in the Asia-Pacific region. He was the first of the PE group’s senior team members to be located in OMERS’ office in Singapore, opened in 2018 to diversify the strategy and expand access to opportunities. He led fund investments and co-investments in the region.

The PE group is planning to ratchet up its activity in Asia, Michael Graham, OMERS’ recently installed global head of private equity, told Buyouts in April. It is presently taking a cautious approach, he said, with the aim of “growing our presence prudently and over time” and eventually doing solo deals.

OMERS last year recruited Jeff French as a Singapore-based private equity director. French was formerly with Blackstone for about six years, working as an Asia-Pacific-focused investment professional.

Payne joined OMERS in 2009 as a director in the PE group’s London contingent. He participated in most major European deals of the past decade, among them V. Group, a maritime services provider bought in 2011 and sold in 2016 to Advent International. OMERS retains a minority stake.

Payne also had a hand in OMERS’ investments in learning disability support specialist Lifeways, acquired in 2012 from August Equity; cinema chain operator Vue Entertainment, acquired in 2013 from Doughty Hanson; and environmental consultancy ERM, acquired in 2015 from Charterhouse Capital Partners.

Payne’s pre-OMERS roles include 14 years as an executive with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the UK and Europe.

OMERS Private Equity managed net assets of C$15.7 billion at the end of December. Graham became head of its global team of 50-plus investment professionals in March, replacing Mark Redman, who held the job for nearly five years. Graham formerly led the North American PE operation.

Earlier in 2020, OMERS closed its first new PE investment in more than a year, buying Community Vet Partners, a US network of animal hospitals, from Cortec Group. The deal had an implied value of $600 million, Buyouts’ sister publication PE Hub reported.

Action item: Reach OMERS Private Equity at its Toronto headquarters here: 416-369-2400