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Rogers, Bell close to purchasing controlling interest in Maple Leafs

Dec 8, 2011, 11:52 PM EDT

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It was only two weeks ago when the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said they weren’t going to sell their controlling interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). It’s amazing what (as much as) $2 billion can do to change people’s minds.

Telecommunication rivals Bell Media and Rogers Communications are pooling their assets to purchase the 79.5% of MLSE shares that are owned by the Pension Plan. The $2 billion would include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Leafs TV, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, the Air Canada Centre, and various real estate holdings.

Two billion dollars doesn’t goes as far as it used to.

QMI Agency is reporting that the deal could be completed as early as Friday; but more likely, the deal will be completed sometime before Christmas.

It’s noteworthy that Bell and Rogers are buying the Maple Leafs in the midst of their best start in awhile. The team hasn’t made the playoffs in six seasons, but they’re currently only two points behind the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division. The team is as desirable as they’ve been in years. What will they be able to do when they have ownership that is desperate for ratings?

Either way, let’s be real: the Maple Leafs could win five games per season and still make money. Now if we could get Bell or Rogers to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, all the ownership problems in the NHL would be cured.

  1. cshearing - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    I am shocked Rogers and Bell are working together. That would be like NBC/GE and ABC/Disney pooling their money and purchasing a team. Something seems fishy here.

  2. botlecap - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    it’d be interesting for someone to do some digging into this. it doesn’t seem outrageous that they’d purchase the ‘yotes and move them to (or close to) the toronto market and split the teams and profits. one way to make sure the leaf’s aren’t going to keep another team out of their back yard is to be part of buying the leafs…

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