Friday, December 9, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors sold to Rogers and BCE; competition bureau to vet takeover

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan announced on Friday that will sell its 79.5 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs, to Rogers Communications and BCE for $1.32 billion. The companies made the announcement in a morning news conference at the Air Canada Centre to confirm the blockbuster deal. MLSE also owns the Raptors of the NBA, Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, the Marlies of the American Hockey League, the Air Canada Centre, two specialty television channels and Maple Leaf Square, a condominium development adjacent to the arena. Under the agreement, Rogers and Bell Canada will divide their 75 per cent share of MLSE evenly. And Larry Tanenbaum whose firm, Kilmer Sports, owned 21.47 per cent of MLSE increases its ownership to 25 per cent. The federal competition watchdog has announced that it will vet the takeover. “The Competition Bureau will be investigating the transaction to see if it results in a lessening or prevention of competition,” said a spokesperson for Melanie Aitken, the head of the federal bureau charged with rooting out anti-competitive corporate behaviour. Noting that news of the deal only broke early Friday, the spokesperson couldn’t say how long the investigation would take.

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