Rogers, Bell Partner To Buy Control Of Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors
December 12, 2011 at 6:49 AM (PT)
ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS, parent of ROGERS RADIO, and BCE INC., parent of BELL MEDIA RADIO, have partnered to buy a controlling interest in MAPLE LEAF SPORTS AND EMTERTAINMENT LTD, the owner of the NHL's TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, NBA's TORONTO RAPTORS, MLS soccer's TORONTO FC, and the AHL's TORONTO MARLIES, as well as AIR CANADA CENTRE, the arena in which the LEAFS and RAPTORS play, from the ONTARIO TEACHERS' PENSION PLAN. ROGERS, which also owns baseball's TORONTO BLUE JAYS and stadium ROGERS CENTRE, and BCE will pay C$1.32 billion for a 75% stake in the company (each paying C$533 million and taking a 37.5% share), with LARRY TANNENBAUM, who will remain as Chairman of MLSE, increasing his stake (through KSI INVESTMENTS) from 20 to 25%. The deal is subject to NHL and NBA approval.
The deal also splits radio and television rights for MLSE's most valuable property, the MAPLE LEAFS. In an unusual arrangement, ROGERS Sports CJCL-A (SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN)/TORONTO and BELL's Sports CHUM-A (TSN RADIO 1050)/TORONTO will split the LEAFS game broadcast schedule in a manner to be determined, while ROGERS SPORTSNET and BELL's TSN cable networks are likely to share the television schedule.
BELL also owns a minority stake in the MONTREAL CANADIENS, and hopes to get around NHL prohibitions against owning more than 30% of more than one club by splitting its MLSE stake, with the BELL CANADA pension fund owning 9.5% pf MLSE and the parent company owning 28%.