Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors Majority Ownership To Sell Stake To Bell Media, Rogers Communication

Monday December 12th, 2011

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ and Toronto Raptors’ majority ownership will sell its stake to telecommunication giants Bell Media and Rogers Communications, according to the Toronto Sun.

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan holds 73.5% of shares in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and plans to cash out its controlling stake in a deal worth close to $2 billion.  MLSE runs the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, the Air Canada Centre and LeafsTV among other assets.

Bell Media and Rogers Communication represent TSN and Sportsnet respectively. Bell holds the No. 1 spot and Rogers holds the No. 2 spot in terms of broadcasting rankings in Canada but will join together for the deal and split the shares of MLSE with many lucrative deals in the wings. Bell also owns 18% of the Montreal Canadiens, and naming rights to its area while Rogers owns the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays. Bell would be required to divest its interest in the Canadiens at some point under NHL rules. Details of the deal have yet to be finalized but an announcement could come as early as Friday. However, the deal is expected to close around Christmas. The purchase of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raports would have to be approved by the NHL and NBA respectively.

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