BCE: No truth to takeover talks

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TORONTO -- Canadian phone giant BCE Inc. on Thursday denied media reports that it is in discussions with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts on a possible $24.3 billion takeover deal.

Montreal-based BCE, which owns and operates domestic satellite TV service Bell ExpressVu Llp. and has a minority stake in broadcaster CTV, said in a statement that "there are no ongoing discussions being held with any private equity investor with respect to any privatization of the company or any similar transaction."

The statement followed the Globe and Mail newspaper reporting Thursday that BCE chief executive Michael Sabia and other senior executives had held two meetings with KKR executives regarding taking the phone giant private.

BCE, in a statement prompted by a query from the Toronto Stock Exchange, said "the company has no current intention to pursue such discussions, in allusion to possible talks with KKR or other private equity firms."

Shares in BCE rose CAN$1.47 ($1.25) to CAN$31.60 ($27.00) during morning trading on the TSE, on news of a possible move by KKR and a likely Canadian partner.
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