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.