Canadian Regulator Approves Phone Giants' Takeover of TV Sport Properties

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The CRTC gave the green light to BCE and Rogers Communications for a controlling 75 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment for $1.3 billion.

TORONTO – Canadian telecom giants Rogers Communications and BCE on Thursday received approval to buy a 75 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors pro sport teams, for $1.3 billion.

The CRTC, Canada’s TV regulator, approved the takeover of five TV networks that are part of the blockbuster deal, including Leafs TV, Gol TV and NBA TV Canada, as well as two services that have not yet launched, Mainstream Sports and Live Music Channel.

“In this case, we have been convinced that the transaction benefits Canadians as it will lead to the creation of new home-grown sports programming,” CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in approving the transaction.

The takeover places control of Canada’s biggest pro sports team and a host of sports TV assets into the hands of Rogers and BCE subsidiary Bell Media, which separately operate the country’s top TV sport channels.

The Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund sold its majority stake in MLSE, which also includes the Toronto FC soccer club and the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs' farm team.

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