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TORONTO – Canadian telco giants Rogers Communications and BCE are to unveil a blockbuster deal Friday morning to buy an 80 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors pro sport teams.
The deal, reportedly worth around $1.3 billion, will place 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 is selling its majority stake in MLSE, which also includes the Toronto FC soccer club and the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ farm team.
In addition, MLSE has a stable of digital TV properties, including LeafsTV, NBA TV Canada and Golf TV Canada.
Rogers already owns and runs the Toronto Blue Jays pro baseball club, and runs the Sportsnet cable sports channel.
Bell Media runs TSN, a rival cable sports channel that already airs Maple Leafs and Raptors games on its schedule.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Fund last year boosted its stake in MLSE to two-thirds control by acquiring a 7.7% stake from Canadian broadcaster CTVglobemedia, which was later acquired by BCE and rebranded as Bell Media.
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