Report: Leafs, Raptors up for sale

TSN reports:

TORONTO (CP) – Steve Stavro is in talks to sell his control position in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owner of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday.
The 76-year-old former grocery-store owner is negotiating with a group of potential buyers, including the Thomson family, and MLSE’s two other part-owners: the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board and construction magnate Larry Tanenbaum, the report said.

If the Thomson family was susccessful in acquiring MLSE, the sports company would probably end up inside Bell Globemedia (BGM), which is majority owned by BCE Inc. Thomson Corp. owns a minority stake in Bell Globemedia. BGM is also the parent company of TSN.

“Steve (Stavro) has decided it’s time to move on and everyone is now working on a graceful transition,” a source close to the talks told the paper.

Several unnamed sources told the paper that a new ownership group would simplify the company’s structure and pave the way for more lucrative television contract. If Stavro follows through, a deal could be reached within three weeks.

Brian Bellmore, Stavro’s lawyer and an MLSE director, said he was unaware of a pending deal. Officials at Teachers and BCE Inc., declined comment. Tanenbaum was unavailable.

Stavro owns 55 per cent of MLG Holdings, the company that holds 51 per cent of MLSE, which also owns the Air Canada Centre. Tanenbaum owns 25 per cent of MLG Holdings and the rest is owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank. Teachers owns 49 per cent of the MLSE unit.

TD is expected to sell its position if control changes hands. Teachers would keep about the same ownership position it now has, sources said.

One key to a deal, they said, is the backing of Tanenbaum, who has been at odds with Stavro in the past. One source said Tanenbaum, who shares the right of first refusal with all other shareholders, is backing the ownership shift.

MLSE is believed to be worth $800 million to $1 billion. The last ownership change occurred in 1996, when Tanenbaum bought his interest for $21 million from Stavro.

Stavro has been winding down his financial ventures in recent years after closing his Knob Hill Farms grocery-store chain in 2000. Since then, he has run into problems selling his remaining assets. There have been suggestions that Stavro owes the Thomson family money, but sources said that is not true.

Stavro acquired control of the hockey team about 10 years ago with the backing of TD Bank and the Ontario teachers’ fund. Since then, a new arena has been built and the basketball team added.

via the Globe and Mail


29 Responses to Report: Leafs, Raptors up for sale

  1. BabyLeaf says:

    Whomever buys the Leafs is gonna be one lucky person!!! I read the team made over 26 million in profit last year.

    I wonder who is going to be the new owner… maybe Toronto born multi-billionare Eugene Melnyk will want to buy the Leafs…he will get a good deal as it looks like Stavro wants to pay off old debts and retire ASAP!

  2. Aetherial says:

    They will go to one of the current partners.

    I have heard that the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Fund may try to aquire the Stavro interest.

    This is HORRIBLE!!!!! News for Leaf Fans!

    There is no-one involved there who gives a rat’s ass about winning the cup; ESPECIALLY the Teacher’s Pension Fund.

    This means that as long as the team makes money (which it will regardless) they will try to operate with as low a budget as possible.

    At least Stavro had *some* desire to see the Leafs win. The other organizations/individuals could care less.

    You want an owner with money who wants to be a part of building a winner; not an owner(s) who only cares about the bottom line 🙁

  3. MapleLeafs says:

    I hope Eugene Melnyk becomes the new owner when Stavro sells.

    -Go Leafs Go-

  4. mikster says:

    This makes me cry….

    Why doesn’t Cablevision sell the Rangers………DAMN IT.

  5. jacosta says:

    This is absolutley true. I am a teacher and I have friends who work in the financial world and the Teachers pension Plan is one of the biggest and best run organisations in North America.

    The only way you get that way is by making smart business deals. And winning the Stanley cup is not the best business deal.

    If the teachers pension plan wins the ownership, there will not be a stanley cup here for another 67 years. It may even resort to the Ballard days. Which was play rookies and if they get good, trade them for more cheap rookies.

    I am a teacher and I would cry if they became the majority owner. Fight the power.

  6. chewy says:

    Lets add it up,

    If sale goes through to Thomson

    Thomson owns BCE who would own Majority in Leafs, BCE owns TSN, TSN wants all Leaf games = Hockey Night in Canada not showing Leaf games anymore!

  7. Tradedude says:

    i dont get what this is saying, the leafs could be moved>???????????

  8. Tradedude says:

    what gives about HNIC, harry neal and bob cole r still the broadcastors for TSN i think.

  9. bruinexpert says:

    I’ve heard from a reliable source that the Billionnaire owner of The Brick furniture store (father of Oiler Mike Comrie) has showed interest in purchasing the Leafs

  10. matrix2003 says:

    It would be majority ownership, not full they would still have a say, HNIC will always be aired, they (HNIC) are under contract until 2007 anyways.

  11. matrix2003 says:

    What are you talking about, it’s been 36 years (since 1967, not 67 years), since the Leafs they won the Cup, and who cares about the past.

  12. matrix2003 says:

    Hopefully someone with money and desire to suceed will buy them, not the other owners who just sat and collected their paychecks.

  13. bruinexpert says:

    yeah, the leafs will likely get moved to a city with a bigger market so they can be more profitable then the leafs, who have been in the red for the last 5 years.

  14. TaajAr says:

    Wait a minute….Comries’s dad is a Billionaire?

    Guess you can never say it’s all about the money for Mike then.

  15. mikster says:

    A lot of teams make owners lose money.

    Leafs stay in Toronto, just a new owner. I think Boston could use a new location where they find more fans.

  16. big_booty says:

    This had actually been a circulating rumor for a couple of months now.

    Stavro couldn’t save his other business interests and keep MLSE at the same time.

    I wonder what bearing this has on the uber-secret and vaunted “war chest” that the Leafs had built up for deadline deals and a playoff push. Probably none, since the Leafs just don’t make deadline deals.

  17. bruinexpert says:

    I agree, Boston is pretty shitty, the fans just don’t seem to give a shit anymore….but i can’t blame them considering their management who haven’t seemed to have any interest in winning since Mike Milbury left

  18. mikster says:

    Yeah, just winning in the reg-season. Hackett was a good deal, but…..then what?

  19. sportside24 says:

    Toronto is one of only a few teams that actually makes profit every year… It will never be moved.. It may be sold but not moved… There is no place you could move the leafs to make them more profitable… Toronto is a HUGE market .. With more than 5 million people surrounding the leafs and alot of fans accross canada..

  20. leafsrule31 says:

    nope.. just harry neale. and joe bowen?.. i think his name is.

  21. leafsrule31 says:

    you said it

  22. Islesfreak says:

    I heard John Spano has sold enough cartons of cigarettes to purchase the leafs.

  23. Robert says:

    Thompson family seem to be the front runners.

  24. Robert says:

    Thompson family seem to be the front runners.

  25. OldTimeHockey_28 says:

    Does he not own CTV as well.

    Besides. Taking the leaf’s off of Hockey Night in Canada would be a BAD MOVE

  26. Aetherial says:

    Come on Booty,

    You can do better than that. It’s getting old now.

  27. WeStSiDe says:

    I hope Larry Tanenbaum Buys the bulk of it, if your a HOCKEY fan you should to, all the others just care about breaking even and if they make money they dont care…

  28. WeStSiDe says:

    BUT, not one person owns all of it, it is just majority owners, I think currently there are 4 different people but Stavro has the bulk of it…

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