Rogers in Talks to Purchase Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto Star Reports

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Rogers Communications Inc., Canada’s largest wireless carrier, is in talks to buy the Toronto Maple Leafs National Hockey League team and the Raptors basketball club for about C$1.3 billion ($1.28 billion), the Toronto Star reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

The purchase of the 66 percent stake from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan would include the Toronto FC soccer club and the Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ minor-league hockey team, as well as media ventures, the Star reported. Rogers already owns the Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.

The transaction with Toronto-based Rogers would include all of the sports properties owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., including the Leafs and Raptors television stations, the Star said. It would not include the real estate holdings, it said.

Deborah Allan, a spokeswoman for the pension plan, declined to comment to Bloomberg News. Rogers spokesman Bruce Mann didn’t immediately return a phone call or e-mail today.

Richard Peddie, Maple Leaf Sports’s chief executive officer, declined to comment to the Star, and referred calls to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the Star said. Peddie announced yesterday he plans to step down at the end of 2011.

It’s not known whether Rogers is the only bidder or whether the pension plan intends to speak with other parties, the newspaper said. Kilmer Sports Inc., a firm owned by Larry Tanenbaum, owns 20.5 percent of Maple Leaf Sports, while TD Capital, a unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank, holds 13.5 percent, the paper said.

The Toronto Maple Leafs franchise is the most valuable in the NHL, valued at $470 million, followed by the New York Rangers, Forbes magazine reported in November 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Bell in Toronto at kbell2@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joanne Norton at jnorton@bloomberg.net David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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