Mar 12, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT
La Presse in Montreal is reporting that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is looking to sell their 66% share in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). The huge news could mean real estate mogul Larry Tanenbaum will be able to add to his 20.5% interest as he contractually entitled first right refusal to any interest. Additionally, TD Capital will also be able to add to their current 12% interest in the entertainment group. No matter who ends up with the available interest, it could change the direction of the most polarizing team in Canada.
The first step of the sale would be for the Teacher’s Pension Plan to find investors interested in the 66% stake. Accordingly, it’s being reported that they’ve contacted Morgan Stanley for the purpose of finding interested parties and to get an idea of the realistic selling price. From there, they would go to Tanenbaum and/or TD Capital with a bid and either accept their offer or move to the parties who are willing to pay a higher premium.
Any potential deal will include more than just the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Air Canada Centre. MLSE seemingly owns the entire sports landscape in Toronto—so purchasing a part of MSLE means purchasing a part of all Toronto sports. La Presse breaks it down (English translation):
“The Teachers’ Fund is seeking $1.3 billion for its share of MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment), the largest sporting group in the country. MLSE owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Raptors (NBA), Toronto (MLS), and the Toronto Marlies in the AHL. It also has networks Leafs TV and Raptors TV; and venues Air Canada Centre, Ricoh Coliseum, and BMO Field, which would also be part of the transaction.
If it’s completed, this sale will be the largest in Canadian professional sports history.”
A few months ago, it was rumored that Rogers Communications was interested in MLSE. We’ll soon find out if those rumors held any water, but purchasing an interest in the Leafs would be huge for Rogers and their subsidiary Rogers SportsNet.
Update: Per Hockey Night in Canada, Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan Statement:
“The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan today stated that it will explore the possibility of selling its 66% majority share of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, and will be making no further public comment on the matter.”
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