Celine Dion could bid for Canadiens

Several in pursuit of Montreal hockey team

TORONTO -- Canadian pop star Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and Quebec cable giant Quebecor Media have emerged as potential bidders for the Montreal Canadiens NHL team.

Quebec broadcaster Radio-Canada said Wednesday that the Bank of Montreal has signed confidentiality agreements with 10 potential suitors who have until 5 p.m. Thursday to submit formal bids to 80% majority owner George Gillett, a Denver-based sports team and events promoter.

Other interested parties include U.S. investment firm Spectrum Equity; Montreal businessman Stephen Bronfman of Claridge Investments, a cousin of WMG chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr.; and the Caisse de depot et placement, a provincial pension fund giant.

In addition to picking up the hockey team, a Canadiens buyer would acquire the Bell Center arena in Montreal and a concert promotion division.

Gillett also owns Richard Petty Motorsports and the U.K.'s Liverpool soccer club.
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