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Posted December 12 2011


Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan divest Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

Toronto - Rogers Communications announced that it, along with Bell Canada, are jointly acquiring a net 75 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

Rogers' net cash commitment, following a planned leveraged recapitalization of MLSE, will total approximately $533 million , representing a 37.5 percent equity interest in MLSE, and will be funded with cash on hand at closing. In a concurrent transaction, KSI Investments, owned by Larry Tanenbaum , will increase its current 20 percent ownership interest in MLSE to 25 percent.

"I am excited to welcome our new partners Bell and Rogers," said Larry Tanenbaum , Chairman, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. "I am proud this is a Made-in-Canada deal that will bring resources and expertise to help us win on and off the ice, court and pitch. This is a terrific path forward for our teams and our fans. It will ensure MLSE continues to make a positive impact in Toronto and across this great country of ours."

Once the transaction closes, MLSE will be jointly owned by KSI Investments (25%), Bell and BCE Master Trust Fund (37.5%), and Rogers Communications (37.5%). Tanenbaum will continue to serve as Chair of MLSE and as a Governor of the NHL, NBA and Major League Soccer. Rogers and Bell have negotiated long-term sports broadcasting rights for MLSE content, at fair market value, for their respective television, wireless, digital and radio assets.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is Canada's preeminent leader in delivering top quality sports and entertainment experiences to fans. MLSE owns and operates the Air Canada Centre, the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA's Toronto Raptors, MLS's Toronto FC, the AHL's Toronto Marlies, along with three television networks: Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada , and GOL TV Canada .

"MLSE is truly a world-class organization with some of the most iconic brands and popular sports teams across North America ," said Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications. "We're excited to partner with MLSE to create highly interactive and engaging experiences for hockey, basketball and soccer fans, creating the perfect marriage of content and distribution. This investment fits squarely into our strategy of securing premium content and making it accessible to Canadians when, where and how they want it."

Rogers has an extensive sports presence in Canada . The company owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, the Rogers Centre, and the multiplatform Sportsnet brand. Today's announcement further strengthens Rogers' commitment to the Canadian sports landscape and complements the company's strategic alliance with the Vancouver Canucks, including naming rights for the Rogers Arena, and long-term media agreements with the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, CHL, NCAA, Rogers Cup, international soccer, UFC, and more.

"Sports is an integral part of our business and we're committed to Sportsnet being the number one sports media brand in the country," said Mohamed. "We're passionate about sports and we look forward to building championship teams."

Demonstrating its commitment to sport, Rogers has invested heavily in rebranding Sportsnet and is the first Canadian sports media brand to operate across five platforms: TV, radio, print, digital and mobile. Most recently the company launched Sportsnet magazine , Canada's first and only national bi-weekly sports magazine. At the same time, this agreement enables Rogers to secure the best and most valuable sports content for its consumers, its partners and its media properties.

The company has invested substantially in networks, such as LTE, Rogers on Demand, Rogers on Demand Online and mobile applications to bring Canadians the best content on their platform of choice. Most recently, the company launched live streaming of marquee sports properties, including Toronto Maple Leaf and Toronto Blue Jay games, Rogers Cup, FIFA World Cup, NBA TV and NFL Network.

The transaction is expected to close in mid 2012 and is subject to regulatory and league approvals.

There will be a news conference today at 9:30 a.m. ET , which will be streamed live on Sportsnet,, Sportsnet 590 The FAN, CityNews Channel, and 680News.

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