TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 15: The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Phoenix Coyotes stand at attention during the national anthem at the Air Canada Centre on November 15, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Toronto Maple Leafs Sale To Cable Giants Rogers, Bell Approved By NHL

Two Canadian media giants purchased Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the group that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, among others. The NHL approved the Leafs' sale Tuesday.

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Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors Sale Approved By Government Regulators

Two giant Canadian phone companies moved a step closer Thursday to owning a big chunk of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled to not block a $1.32 billion bid by BCE Inc. and Rogers Communication Inc, reports the Canadian Press.

The purchase by the two companies is for 75-percent stake of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., which owns the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies and the Toronto FC and five television services including Leafs TV.

"When deciding whether or not to approve a proposed ownership transaction, the commission must be persuaded, in light of the application and the public record that an approval is in the public interest," said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais in a news release.

"In this case, we have been convinced that the transaction benefits Canadians as it will lead to the creation of new homegrown sports programming."

The CRTC was ruling on the case after competitors of the BCE and Rogers complained the purchase would "create a sports duopoly".

The deal has reached all final regulatory approvals and is expected to close soon, but there's no current date for finalization.

For more on the Toronto Maple Leafs, visit SB Nation's Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets and SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.


Toronto Maple Leafs Sale Approved By NHL Board Of Governors

The NHL governors have approved the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs to Rogers Communications, Inc. and BCE, Inc.


Toronto Maple Leafs Sale: MLSE Sold To Rogers, Bell Canada For $1.32 Billion

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has called a press conference for 9:30 a.m. ET on Friday morning. Hmm, wonder what that could be about. According to a press release, the majority share in the company, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, will be sold to Rogers Communications and Bell Canada.

The current majority owner, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, had said as recently as two weeks ago that they would not be selling their 79.53 percent share in the company, but a recent offer from the two cable giants apparently changed their tune.

The purchase price for Teachers' interest is $1.32 billion, based on an enterprise value of just over $2 billion.

Although Teachers' announced on November 25 that it would retain its MLSE ownership position, it subsequently was approached by Bell and Rogers with an unsolicited offer that meets all of its original terms and conditions for sale. The sale agreement follows an eight-month review process of numerous expressions of interest in MLSE.

MLSE is the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre, the AHL's Toronto Marlies and Major League Soccer's Toronto FC.

The deal is expected to be completed by mid-2012. Minority owner Larry Tanenbaum, who holds the right to match any offer for Teachers' stake, is on board with the deal and will remain the Chairman of the company. 

For more on the Toronto Maple Leafs sale situation, visit our... aptly named Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets


Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Others Not For Sale

There have been rumors of a potential sale of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and others, for months now. But after an eight-month review of their majority stake in the company, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has decided not to sell.

Following various unsolicited expressions of interest in MLSE, Teachers' and its advisors began a process in March of this year to review its ownership stake in the company.  Teachers' has concluded this eight-month process with the decision to maintain its stake in MLSE, which has been and continues to be a very successful investment. 

With the acquisition in September of TD Capital Group's 13.46% minority stake, Teachers' now owns 79.53% of MLSE.

It's easy to see why Teachers' is hanging on, and it's the same reason why so many other suitors were interested in the controlling portion of MLSE. The company is a big time money maker, and with the Maple Leafs in particular starting to play better hockey, and with the playoffs a legitimate possibility for the first time in years, the opportunity isn't going anywhere.

In addition to the Leafs and Raptors, MLSE also controls the Air Canada Centre, Major League Soccer's Toronto FC, the AHL's Toronto Marlies and several properties in the Greater Toronto Area. 

For more on the Leafs, check with our blog Pension Plan Puppets, which fortunately won't be forced into a name change any time soon.


Toronto Maple Leafs Sale? U.S. Investment Firm Reportedly Interested In Leafs, Raptors Parent Company

Sale rumors surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and the rest of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment have come and gone before, but they're popping back up with news that an American-based investment firm is interested in the company.

According to a report in the Toronto Star, Providence Equity Partners is interested in purchasing the large stake of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment owned currently by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. They currently hold a 79.5 percent stake in the company, which owns the Maple Leafs, the Raptors, the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies, MLS club Toronto FC and several facilities, including Air Canada Centre. 

Part of the interest certainly comes from the fact that MLSE is a company with ridiculously valuable assets such as the Leafs, but the investment firm seems interested also in the potential. Via the Star report:

Industry officials say Maple Leaf Sports' next big-picture investment could include folding Leafs TV and NBA Canada TV, both little-watched digital channels, into a regional sports network styled after Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network. YES Network, which started in 2002, broadcasts more than 130 New York Yankees games a year.

In the case of an offer made by the Providence, R.I.-based company, current MLSE minority owner Larry Tanenbaum would have the right to match. Of course, the ongoing NBA lockout and the uncertainty with the NHL's labor situation a year from now is likely to complicate all matters. 


Report: 'No Immediate Plans' To Sell Leafs, Raptors

According to a report in the Globe & Mail, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has no plans on selling their controlling stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. MLSE owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC of MLS and the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, and the OTPP owns a 66 percent stake of MLSE.

It was rumored on Wednesday morning that the OTPP was in negotiations to sell that 66 percent stake to Rogers Communications or perhaps another group.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board has no immediate plans to divest its majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman was told as much on Wednesday, sources say.


An NHL executive said, "There is legitimate interest on the potential buyers' side [Rogers], but not so much on the potential sellers' side. So at this point, it’s not going anywhere."

For more, visit our appropriately named Leafs blog, Pension Plan Puppets.

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