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.