Rogers, BCE on verge of deal for MLSE

Rogers Communications Inc.and BCE Inc. are on the verge of a deal to purchase a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for more than $1.3-billion. MLSE said in a statement Friday that it was poised to make a major announcement later in the morning, though it gave no details. Sources said the deal would be announced within a matter of days. Sources say the telecommunications giants have reached a draft agreement with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to acquire about 80 per cent of MLSE, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and a host of other assets.

The deal has not been finalized and still may fall apart, but the companies were in talks late Thursday night, and sources close to the situation said most of the key details had been worked out.

In particular, Rogers and BCE have won the support of minority owner Larry Tanenbaum, who owns 20 per cent of MLSE and has right of first refusal on any offer. His support clears a major hurdle for any deal.

If finalized, the sale would be one of the richest sales of sports assets in North America. In addition to the Leafs and Raptors, MLSE also owns the Toronto FC soccer club, as well as broadcast properties such as Leafs TV and Raptors TV.

The deal gives MLSE an equity value of roughly $1.66-billion, not including debt. Of that, Rogers and BCE are said to be paying about $1.33-billion for roughly an 80-per-cent stake.

38 Responses to Rogers, BCE on verge of deal for MLSE

  1. reinjosh says:

    They announced it this morning. The most valuable franchise in the league is now a joint Rogers-Bell-Tannebaum venture. 

  2. senators_choke says:

    To quote Darth Vader, "this will be a day long remembered". 

    So glad the Teacher's no longer own the Leafs. They should go back to doing what they do best, and that is screwing up kid's education.

    I think Rogers want to win. With the Jays, at least their trying, but doesn't help to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox.

  3. senators_choke says:

    Rivals Rogers and Bell are now co-owners. That's like Coke and Pepsi buying the Leafs.

  4. 93killer93 says:

    Any opinions on the Kaberle for Spacek trade? 

  5. mapleleafsfan says:

    Great deal for mtl if kaberle gets it together… Funny how much someones trade value can change in a year… Gonna suck to see kabby in a habs jersey though.

  6. TheLeafNation91 says:

    He did not "get it together" for his last 3 teams in the last two years…What is the differen now?

    They just tied up another 4 million and 3 years in a player that is overpaid.

    Spacek was a UFA at seasons end…Dumb move.

  7. leafmeister says:

    Totally agree. Kaberle's value was based on his play in 2007. Kaberle of recent years, with the exclusion of a couple hot streaks, has been the definition of mediocre. To be fair though, in 2007, he was one of the best defensemen in the league. In fact, at the beginning of 07/08, The Hockey News ranked him as the 5th best D-man in the league, behind only Lidstrom, Niedermayer, Pronger, and Phaneuf. Ahead of Chara even.

    The Leafs basically sold a massively inflated stock right before a crash.

  8. mapleleafsfan says:

    Yea I didn't realize spacek was UFA at the end of the season. Mtl is screwed cap wise now.. And i wouldn't say he did not get it together for his last 3. Sure Boston and Carolina, but 38 points in 58 games for us was solid. It's not like he's that far removed from being a good point getter. If he can qb their PP a bit it's fine, spacek sucks anyways. But yea, the UFA thing makes it a bad trade overall. 

  9. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I agree.

    I did not like his play since Beauchemin/Komisarek got here. He did not look good with Boston, who has an incredible defence. He looked even worse in Carolina.

    Now, he's in a defence-first city in Montreal…I don't think it will help him.

    But great credit should go to Burke for inflating that stock.

  10. leafmeister says:

    No doubt. Burke knew exactly what he was doing. I'll admit, I thought he was legitimately *****ed in the head for thinking Kaberle was worth keeping over whatever return we were going to get in the summer of 2010, but he hung on, and despite mediocre play, he turned him into a package that could, if all goes to plan, be even better than the Carter/1st package. Although, admittedly, a lot would have to go right. If Biggs turns into a 20 goal, 40 point, Backes/Lucic type guy, and Colborne turns into the 70+ point top 6 center we know he can be, if developed properly, (I believe he is being developed properly) then their is another trade to rival the Gilmour/Sundin trades.

    Can you imagine if Percy turns into a good player? Feb. 2011 would go down in Maple Leaf history.

  11. senators_choke says:

    Montreal screwed up here. Kaberle is washed up like yesterday's laundry. Have they even watched him play before making this trade?

  12. leafmeister says:

    Maybe Carolina supplied them tapes from 2007. I'm fairly certain that is what Burke did to Chirelli…

  13. mapleleafsfan says:

    Also pretty funny how they weren't willing to resign Wisniewski who lit it up for them, but now trade for a worse version.. I am curious if Kaberle/Subban could click on the PP (pretty bad pairing defensively)… Subbans got a bomb it could work out. That said if it didn't work with Chara maybe Kaberle is really just done.. Boy is he ever gonna be a whipping boy in mtl if he continues sucking. Gomez+kabby combining for almost as many millions in salary has they have points. lol.

    I'll always like kaberle and have faith he can still be a decent point getter. But Montreal has way too many bad contracts and just got softer. Gotta suck being a habs fan right now. 
  14. dumbassdoorman says:

    So kabby is in MTL.

  15. mojo19 says:

    That's a desperate move to try to make up for Markov's ongoing injury issues.

  16. Steven_Leafs says:

    Huge risk here. Montreal needs (not hoping, NEEDS) Kaberle to find his game again. I'm kind of surprised that Kaberle is doing so bad, I mean he looked amazing in Toronto. His new contract was expected to be worth over 5mil a year and he was traded as a rental with a damn NTC for bascially 2 1sts and a 2nd. It didn't take long for his stock to drop hard.

  17. leafmeister says:

    He was an elite defensemen for 2 years. Right after the lockout. Since then, meh.

  18. reinjosh says:

    Now we can have Leaf bias on TSN too!

  19. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Too desperate if you ask me.

  20. mapleleafsfan says:

    Sweet pk Wilson. 

  21. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Yeah…It was bad. However, this was more on the players then coaches.

    But Joey Crabb deserves 85% of the blame…If you have the worst PK in the league, you don't take stupid penalties or give up a million 5-3 likes they do.

    And Kulemin has not scored in 22 games now? I still tring to find a use for a player that has 2 goals thus far.

  22. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Cody Franson, who has basically been benched all year, has just surpassed Kulemin in the goal column.

    Who's next Colton Orr?

  23. senators_choke says:

    Totally agreed on Kulemin. I don't care how good he is defensively, if you're not scoring in 22 games, you better be friggin Bob Gainey.

  24. mapleleafsfan says:

    The players were bad for sure but the system friggen sucks.. There is NO pressure on the points what so ever… a defencemen getting a PP hat trick is pathetic… And yea kulemin is getting ridiculous (although the screen was good on the franson goal). But again, what can you do? We can't trade him now, I think we just gotta hope he figures it out… And maybe try to get some real secondary scoring. 

  25. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Well, the others say it is not important since were scoring goals.

    However, in the last 5 goals, the Leafs have only scored more than 2 goals once.

    One goal could have made a difference in the last 2 losses especially.

  26. JoelLeafs says:

    The trade wasn't for Colborne and Biggs, it was Colborne and a 1st. There is actually a difference.

    Rivaling the Gilmour and Sundin trades? That's a bit of a stretch, don't you think? Although anything can happen, I suppose.

  27. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Well…Colborne, Liles, and Biggs technically.

    That first rounder that was traded up…Was Bostons.

  28. Steven_Leafs says:

    When you talk about picks (that are not obvious who you would pick, like a 1st overall) you can't really use the draftee's name, or whatever the other team got for the pieces you gave up.


    Boston gave up Colborne, BOS 2011 1st round pick, and a conditional BOS 2012 2nd round pick for Kaberle. Since the condition was met and including what happened in the playoffs you can say Boston gave up Colborne, 30th overall pick in 2011, and their 2012 2nd for a rental that helped them win the Stanley Cup.

    You can use Biggs' and Liles' names when talking about what Toronto got for Kaberle though, but you have to be accurate. In the end, we turned Kaberle into Colborne, Liles, and the 30th overall pick which we traded with the 39th pick for the 22nd pick (Biggs).

    So: Kaberle, 39th overall pick (you cant say Gibson because Toronto most likely would not have picked him) for Colborne, Liles, Biggs.

    Seems like a long winded explanation for such a moot point but it is important to distinguish the difference. I mean I doubt Boston would have traded up to draft Biggs, I doubt they would have drafted Rakell (30th overall pick by ANA), and they definitely would not have traded their 2012 2nd for Liles.

  29. mojo19 says:

    I'm sensing a theme. Kicking a guy when he's down isn't too classy though. You can start the boo Kuley outta town campaign if you want, but I don't think you'll be successful. I got rid of McCabe and Murphy though. haha

  30. MystifoLeafs says:

    Honestly I have the feeling if Kuli gets boo'ed out then he will tear it up to what ever team he goes to.

  31. JoelLeafs says:

    Thanks for helping me explain. Seemed like a relatively simple concept to me… oh well.

  32. mojo19 says:

    Definitely a possibility. Moving a struggling Kulemin would be a very short sited move in my opinion.

  33. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I don't say move him out just yet…It depends if their is a significant uprgade available. If his sporadic play continues into February, I have no problem in saying Bye-bYe. If their a similar, more established player available…I'm trading him. If not, then were stuck with his useless ass.

    In all honesty, I believe he should be scratched for a game because his production has been inexcusable thus far.

    Sorry, disagree all you want, but he has been the only Leaf that has not performed this year. Each Leaf has done their job this year, but him.

  34. mojo19 says:

    If he continues to struggle into February I definitely would NOT trade him. He will have no trade value. I'd re-sign him on the cheap. I keep trying to tell you this is a blessing in disguise, we're gonna get Kuley on a great cap hit.


  35. mojo19 says:

    And the good news is, if we re-sign him for around $2 mil per season, lets say, because he's been struggling. Worst case scenario is that he never regains form and he's useless. At least we won't have big dollars locked up in him.

    Imagine he were having a year this season like he had last year, and next year he hit the funk he's in now. We'd be paying $4-5 million for a useless Russian. I really think this isn't a terrible thing. We're gonna re-sign him for less than he's *potentially* worth. Then we just hope to God he turns it around next year.

  36. TheLeafNation91 says:

    He will not ask for a long-term deal guaranteed. Also, I don't want players that are going to flip/flop in play. He should be entering his prime now, its also his fourth year, if he cannot get it together…Still useless.

    And if he becomes useless, then he will forever be known as the player we f u c ked up for Mike Richards.

    He is not worth more than 2. 5 millon IMO, but he'll get more than that unfortunately

  37. mojo19 says:

    We won't give him a long term deal either. But he could be a great cap buster for next year. Lots of players have bad seasons, you can't try to build with only players who improve each year, because you'll always be disappointed. These players are few and far between. Even Alex Ovechkin, Eric Staal, Evgeny Malkin etc. All have had their off years.

    Hell, even Jarome Iginla dipped down to 60-something points one year in his prime, then came back with like 90, and he was being paid huge $ for Calgary at that time. This shit happens, you should never write somebody off.

    Just think, 2-3 years ago we would have been looking for players to pick up on the cheap who had once put up big numbers (say a 30 goal season), but were coming off bad years, in some kind of hopes to resurrect them (Joffrey Lupul anyone?) So I wouldn't write off Kulemin yet at all.

  38. DannyLeafs says:

    Personally I think demoting him to a checknig line before a scratch, simply because he is still a more useful player in a checking role then guys like Orr, Rosehill or Depuis. They could make a checking line with Armstrong, Kuli, and maybe Bozak, let Connolly center the top line, and bring up Colborne or Kadri and let them play top 6 minutes along side the Grabo and MaC for a few games.

    Only downside is that Bozak has been playing well, but I think his improvement comes more from not trying to do too much. The Kessel line has been ok, but they are kind of fizzling to a single goal a game output, so letting Connolly try and get the pace up again would be something to try.

    As for the second line, I think MaC and Grabo have played well offensively, they are just missing having a third contributor on that line, so a guy trying to make his mark this year could be a good addition to the line.

    Finally, with Kuli, you let him play a role where he thinks about defense first and takes some pressure off. He can still play 13-14 minutes a game, and maybe the reduced pressure will result in a third line that chips in some good offense. If not, it has the added bonus of freeing up some ice time for Bozak to PK with Armstrong, something they desperatley need to improve on their last two losses, and something they did well together last year.

    Finally, for a fourth line I would go with Steckel, Craab and Frattin. Again, a little more offense then the average fourth line, and those guys can forcheck well. I like keeping Frattin there for now, until you give Colborne or Kadri a handful of games to see how that works out. If they play well, send Frattin down for more playing time, or if they don't, put Frattin on the 2nd line for a while and send Kadri/Colborne down.

    The bonus to Kuli is that he is not a one dimensional player. If it turns out his offensive ability from last year was just an aberrssion, it's not as if he can't be a good 3rd liner.

    If there was a trade possibility for a guy that was an upgrade, I woudl be all for it, but chances are with a guy like Kulemin, the return offered won't likely be high enough. When he is at his best, you don't want to trade him, at his worst, nobody will offer up a relatively young bonafide proven top 6 forward, and any less then that for Kulemin is not really worth it.

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