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OMERS Private Equity explores sale of Marketwired: Reuters

The private equity arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) is mulling a potential sale of Marketwired LP, a company that distributes press releases, according to people familiar with the matter.

OMERS has been working with Bank of Montreal to explore potential options, the people said this week.

Toronto-based Marketwired could be valued at as much as US$200 million, the people added, cautioning that no deal was certain. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

A spokesman for OMERS declined to comment. Representatives for Bank of Montreal and Marketwired did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

OMERS could be looking to take advantage of increased interest in the public relations software sector after Britain’s UBM Plc said in September that it was in preliminary talks to sell PR Newswire Association LLC.

Marketwired, with offices in both Canada and the United States, is considerably smaller than PR Newswire, whose owner UBM is seeking about US$700 million for the company, sources have previously told Reuters.

Cision, a portfolio company of buyout firm GTCR LLC, is vying for PR Newswire, the sources have previously said.

In February, Marketwired spun off its social intelligence arm called Sysomos, which helps companies search online conversations to improve their brands. That company is run by a former Microsoft executive Lindsay Sparks.

Update: As reported by PE Hub Canada, Sysomos, which is also backed by OMERS Private Equity, has since completed acquisitions of social marketing provider Expion and visual listening platform gazeMetrix.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

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