Bell Canada, a 100% subsidiary of
), received all regulatory and sports league approvals to obtain
the ownership position in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
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Bell acquired a 75% stake jointly with its major rival
Rogers Communications Inc.
) but on the condition that both companies will have to spend $7.5
million over the next seven years on new sports-themed programming.
The deal was announced in December last year.
The remaining 25% stake will be held by Kilmer Sports, which is
owned by Larry Tanenbaum, the chairman of MLSE and the governor of
the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association and
Major League Soccer.
The stake in MLSE strengthens Bell's sports leadership with the
right to broadcast four sports channels of the former - Maple
Leafs, Raptors, Marlies and Toronto FC. Bell Canada is focusing
largely on the expansion of the media segment given the rapid
growth in video usage and media advertising demand.
Following the acquisition of CTV Network in April last year, Bell
Canada is leading the Canadian broadcasting market with several
popular sports TV channels such as TSN and RDS, specialty channels
such as CTV, TSN2, RDS2, RSI, TSN Montréal Canadiens, TSN Winnipeg
Jets and NHL Network Canada and various sports radio stations
including TSN Radio in Montréal, Toronto and Winnipeg.
Beyond enhancing its media leadership, BCE continues to focus on
five more strategic areas including investment in broadband network
and services, accelerating wireless services, leveraging wireline
momentum, improving customer service and achieving a competitive
We are maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the
stock. For the short term (1-3 months), BCE retains the Zacks #3