CRTC approval also required; transaction expected to close in mid-2012
MONTREAL, May 2, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Competition Bureau confirmed today that it has no plans to challenge Bell's acquisition of an ownership position in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), while noting that the Competition Act provides a one-year period following completion of such transactions during which it can bring the matter before the Tribunal.
MLSE is Canada's largest sports and entertainment company and owner of the premier professional sports teams in Canada's largest marketplace: The Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies and Toronto FC. On December 9, 2011, Bell announced it had, in a joint ownership arrangement with Rogers Communications Inc. (Rogers), agreed to purchase a net 75% ownership position in MLSE from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board. Bell's cash commitment will total $525 million, or $398 million assuming the completion of a leveraged recapitalization of MLSE.
The acquisition secures on a long-term basis access to TV, mobile, digital online and radio broadcast rights for both Bell and Rogers to MLSE's sports teams. Bell's investment in MLSE is part of its strategy to deliver Canada's best content across world-leading broadband networks to any screen customers may choose.
The transaction is expected to close in mid-2012 following Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and sports league approvals.
About Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
MLSE is one of the world's premier sports and entertainment companies that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), the Toronto Raptors (NBA), the Toronto Marlies (AHL), Toronto FC (MLS), Air Canada Centre, Maple Leaf Square and three digital channels - Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada and GOLTV Canada. MLSE has also invested in four of Toronto's sports facilities - Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Marlies, BMO Field, home of Toronto FC, Lamport Stadium, and the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence, the practice facility for the Maple Leafs and Marlies. MLSE operates and manages events at Ricoh Coliseum and BMO Field.
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs, including Bell Mobility wireless, Bell Internet high-speed, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV, Bell Home Phone local and long distance, and Bell Business Markets IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched specialty channels.
The Bell Mental Health Initiative is a multi-year charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada via the Bell Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For Bell product and service information, please visit Bell.ca. For Bell Media, please visit BellMedia.ca. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca.
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this news release, including, but not limited to, statements relating to the proposed acquisition by Bell, in a joint ownership arrangement with Rogers Communications Inc., of a net 75% ownership position in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) from Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board, the expected closing date of the transaction, certain strategic benefits expected to result from the transaction, and other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking. Forward-looking statements, by their very nature, are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions which give rise to the possibility that actual results or events could differ materially from our expectations expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will materialize and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release describe our expectations as of the date of this news release and, accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Except as may be required by Canadian securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this news release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are provided herein for the purpose of giving information about the proposed transaction referred to above and its expected impact. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The timing and completion of the above-mentioned proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, required CRTC and sports league approvals. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the timetable or on the terms and conditions contemplated in this news release. The proposed transaction could be modified, restructured or terminated. There can also be no assurance that the strategic benefits expected to result from the transaction will be fully realized.
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