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Leafs sold to Rogers/Bell conglomerate

Guest Digityman

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Canadian telecommunications giants Bell and Rogers are uniting to buy an 79.53-percent share of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The deal, as reported, is worth $1.32 billion.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, owns the Leafs and NBA's Raptors. MLSE announced the deal during a Friday morning press conference.

Rogers and BCE Inc., which owns Bell, are purchasing the majority stake in the Leafs from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. OTPP will remain the majority owner until this summer when Rogers and Bell will each assume 37.5-percent of the company's stake.

The sale, when finalized, will be one of the richest sales of sports assets in North America. In addition to the Leafs and Raptors, MLSE also owns the Major League Soccer's Toronto FC, as well as broadcast properties such as Leafs TV and Raptors TV.

Minority owner Larry Tanenbaum, who owned 20 percent of MLSE, agreed to the deal and saw his stake in the club increased to 25 percent. He also remains chairman of the MLSE

"I am delighted to announce that I have agreed to increase my ownership stake in MLSE to 25% on the closing of the purchase by Bell and Rogers of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s shares in MLSE," Tanebaum said in a statement. "The transactions are expected to close in mid 2012 following required regulatory and league approvals.

"I want to thank Teachers’ for their partnership over the last 15 years. Together, with our dedicated employees, we have built one of the finest sports and entertainment companies in the world. I am excited to welcome our new partners Bell and Rogers. I am proud this is a Made-in-Canada deal that will bring resources and expertise to help us win on and off the ice, court and pitch. This is a terrific path forward for our teams and our fans. It will ensure MLSE continues to make a positive impact in Toronto and across this great country of ours".

The deal still requires the approval of the NHL, the NBA and Canada's broadcast regulator before it becomes final.

The teachers' pension fund put its stake in MLSE up for auction in March, but shut down the sale process Nov. 25 after it said it didn't receive any suitable offers for the assets. The OTPP said Friday that the media companies restarted the talks this past week, leading to Friday's deal.

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you know i'm starting to feel a kinship to the average Leaf fan,

I am a Baltimore Orioles baseball fan, why I remember the halcyon days of needing 95+ wins to finish ahead of the O's , always being in the hunt for the pennant, and world championship, of teams following the Oriole way for building an organization...

none of the past glory can overcome the current stink on my beloved team.

Leafs fans I can relate.

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