Report: Toronto Raptors Being Sold to Canadian Media Companies

by December 09, 2011

The conglomerate that owns the Toronto Raptors is being sold to another pair of conglomerates in the Canadian media space, reports the Toronto Sun: “The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is about to cash out its controlling stake of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment empire — selling to a pair of media giants. Sources have told QMI Agency that a deal worth as much as $2 billion is close to being settled with telecommunications behemoths Bell Media and Rogers Communications, who have been rivals in the past for the much desired 79.5% shares of MLSE. Bell and Rogers represent TSN and Sportsnet, the No. 1 and 2 sports broadcasting powers in Canada, but they will call a truce and split the shares with so many lucrative deals to be spun off their union. An announcement could come as early as Friday, but there are many moving pieces that could delay the final sale until closer to Christmas. MLSE runs the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, the Air Canada Centre and has high profile real estate holdings. They also own LeafsTV, as well as basketball and soccer television holdings. Rogers, meanwhile, owns the Toronto Blue Jays, making the baseball team an obvious addition to the new combined network. Of course, any purchase of the Leafs and the Raptors would have to be approved by the NHL and NBA, respectively. Bell also owns 18% of the Montreal Canadiens with naming rights to its arena. But an NHL executive indicated Thursday night that the league is aware there is an imminent change in the Toronto ownership situation. One of the matters to be settled is Bell’s 18% interest in the Montreal Canadiens, which must be divested at some point under NHL rules.”