BCE accepts $48.5 bil all-cash bid


TORONTO -- Following months of pursuit by Canadian and U.S. equity players, domestic phone giant BCE Inc. has accepted a CAN$51.7 billion ($48.5 billion) all-cash bid from a group led by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

But Canada's most expensive takeover may not be over after the Globe and Mail newspaper on Monday reported that losing bidders, including U.S. equity player Cerberus Capital Management LP and rival phone giant Telus Corp., were not yet ready to lay down their guns.

"It's not over until we say it's over," a source in the Cerberus camp told the newspaper.

Teachers, already BCE's largest shareholder, and U.S. partners Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, emerged victorious from a formal auction conducted by Goldman Sachs & Co. with a CAN$42.75 per-share bid for BCE stock that jumps to CAN$51.7 billion in value when outstanding debt is added.

Besides its legacy phone service, BCE owns and operates domestic satellite TV service Bell ExpressVu LLP and has a minority stake in the CTV national TV network.