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Former Onex managing director Andrew Sheiner

Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

Toronto-based Altas Partners, a private equity firm trying out a new model with longer-term investments, has hired a veteran of top U.S. telecom buyout fund manager Providence Equity Partners.

Altas Partners, founded by long-time Onex Corp. executive Andrew Sheiner, this week brought in Scott Werry as a principal.

Providence is perhaps best known in Canada for partnering with Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to very nearly acquire BCE Inc. in the world's largest leveraged buyout, just as the financial crisis was beginning. (For a while, Onex was part of a rival consortium stalking BCE but backed out.) Mr. Werry had been with Providence since 2005, and looked in particular at investments in communications and business services. He was a director of Canada's Q9 Networks, which was acquired last year by BCE, Ontario Teachers, Providence and Madison Dearborn Partners – basically the same group behind the BCE buyout plan.

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Before that, he worked at an investment banking firm known as McColl Partners.

Altas is focused on investments of $75-million to $500-million, and says its model can provide returns that are similar to "traditional" private equity funds but with lower risk.

The idea is to own companies for longer than the regular period of roughly five years, with less debt, and emphasize multiples of invested capital as a yardstick.

(Boyd Erman is a Globe and Mail Capital Markets Reporter & Streetwise Columnist.)

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