Toronto Raptors Sold To Rogers Cable
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (TPP) put its 80 percent interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) up for sale in March seeking a considerable premium for Canada’s top sports property. MLSE owns the storied NHL Toronto Maple Leafs franchise, AHL Toronto Marlies, NBA Toronto Raptors, and the Toronto FC soccer club.
Advisors identified Roger Communications, a major cable TV and wireless phone company that already owns the MLB Toronto Blue Jays, early on as the most likely purchaser but were unable to consummate a deal. In today’s announcement, Rogers has teamed up with BCE, Canada’s largest telephone service provider and satellite TV operator, in a joint bid to acquire 75 percent of MLSE for an estimated $1.066 billion in a complicated leveraged transaction.
The deal returns $1.32 billion to the TPP for their shares and values the sports enterprise at over $2.1 billion including debt.
Rogers operates nine Sportsnet cable channels in Canada and this acquisition will give them control over three of Canada’s biggest sports properties.
Fans should expect little change as it is expected that MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum ups his 20 percent interest to 25 percent and will to continue to hold considerable sway over key decisions made by the company.
The announcement of the transaction will be streamed live on http://www.mlse.com/