Deal is Done for MLSE: Rogers and Bell Complete Sports Asset Acquisition
Rogers Communications and Bell Canada have completed their joint acquisition of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE).
The two companies have formed a holding company to govern their combined net 75 per cent stake in MLSE.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave its approval for the deal earlier this week; the federal Competition Bureau said it would not challenge the purchase earlier this year.
Bell and Rogers will spend $7.5 million over the next seven years on new sports-themed programming by Canadian independent producers as part of the CRTC’s condition of purchase.
The telecom and broadcast regulator also underscored its position that related television programming cannot be an exclusive offer to just their mobile or Internet subscribers.
Larry Tanenbaum’s Kilmer Sports Inc. (KSI) has increased its 20.5 per cent ownership stake in MLSE to 25 per cent; Tanenbaum will continue to serve as Chair of MLSE and as a Governor of the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer.
Rogers’ net cash investment in the transaction totals approximately $533 million, one half of the $1.07 billion deal.
“MLSE is truly a world-class organization offering some of the richest and most sought-after content in professional sports,” Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications, said in a release. “This investment fits squarely into our strategy of cost-effectively securing premium content and making it accessible to sports fans wherever, whenever they want. We look forward to working with MLSE to create highly interactive and engaging experiences for hockey, basketball and soccer fans.”
MLSE owns the sports franchises Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC. It also owns specialty TV services Leafs TV, Gol TV and NBA TV Canada, as well as two services yet to be launched.
Rogers operates the Sportsnet suite of specialty services, and it owns the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre, where the team plays. Rogers also has a strategic alliance with the Vancouver Canucks, with naming rights for Rogers Arena.
Bell owns the CTV television network and sports specialty channels like TSN and French-language