Teacher's Pension Fund Sells the Leafs

Paul Shteyn

Staff member
By The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs have some new owners as telecom giants Rogers and Bell Canada are teaming up to buy a majority stake in Canada's biggest sports franchise owner, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, for about $1.3 billion.

The two companies, fierce rivals in the business of cellphone and Internet services, will each pay current owner the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan about $533 million for a 37.5 per cent chunk of the sports ownership company.

Through his company Kilmer Sports, minority owner Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum will increase his current 20 per cent stake in MLSE to 25 per cent.

MLSE owns the Leafs of the NHL, the NBA's Toronto Raptors, Major League Soccer's Toronto FC, the Toronto Marlies of the AHL and the Air Canada Centre.

The surprise deal came a few weeks after Teachers' announced it had given up trying to sell the stake in sports company, which it bought 17 years ago for $180 million. Shortly after that, Bell (TSX:BCE.TO - News) and Rogers (TSX:RCI-B.TO - News) stepped forward with a bid that met all of its original terms and conditions, Teachers' said.

"We are proud of this iconic company, in which we first invested in 1994," Jane Rowe, senior vice-president of Teachers' Private Capital said in a statement.

"It is second to none in the industry and has a very bright future. We believe that Bell and Rogers, with their MLSE partner Kilmer Sports, will deliver on the company's potential."

"We will continue to cheer for the teams and look forward to celebrating their success, but after the summer, from the sidelines," she added later at a news conference.

Rogers already owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and their stadium, the Rogers Centre, as well as the broadcaster Sportsnet.

"We're excited to partner with MLSE to create highly interactive and engaging experiences for hockey, basketball and soccer fans, creating the perfect marriage of content and distribution," said Rogers president and chief executive Nadir Mohamed.

"This investment fits squarely into our strategy of securing premium content and making it accessible to Canadians when, where and how they want it."

"Bell's ownership in MLSE supports our promise to deliver the best content to Canadians across every screen," said BCE president and CEO George Cope.

"With our advanced broadband network investments, next generation Bell TV, Mobility and Internet services, and leading sports networks TSN and RDS, the Bell team looks forward to bringing the Leafs, the Raptors, the Marlies and Toronto FC to fans in new and innovative ways."

Tanenbaum will remain as chairman of MLSE and as a governor of the NHL, the NBA and Major League Soccer.

"I am proud this is a made-in-Canada deal that will bring resources and expertise to help us win on and off the ice, court and pitch," Tanenbaum said.

"This is a terrific path forward for our teams and our fans. It will ensure MLSE continues to make a positive impact in Toronto and across this great country of ours."

Bell and Rogers team up to buy 75 per cent stake in Toronto Maple Leafs owner - Yahoo! Canada Finance


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Maybe Rogers and Belll will get a hockey team to put in the ACC for all the Leaf fans but I doubt it.

Go Bruin's Go!!!!