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BCE ‘Comfortable’ With NHL Exposure, Hasn’t Bid for Leafs

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May 18 (Bloomberg) -- BCE Inc., Canada’s biggest phone company, is “very comfortable” with its exposure to the National Hockey League through its investment in the Montreal Canadiens, and hasn’t bid on Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Canadiens are “critically” important to BCE and “there is nothing we’d want to do to jeopardize that relationship,” Siim Vanaselja, BCE’s chief financial officer, said at a conference today in Toronto. “We are very comfortable with our exposure to hockey at this point.”

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said in March it plans to sell its controlling stake in Maple Leaf Sports, which owns the Maple Leafs hockey team, Raptors basketball team, the Air Canada Centre arena and the Toronto FC soccer club.

Forbes magazine reported last week that Montreal-based BCE and Toronto-based telecommunications rival Rogers Communications Inc. may be among bidders for the sports business.

Ontario Teachers’ last week said it agreed to buy a minority stake from a unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to make it easier to sell the company. The pension fund expects to own 75 percent to 80 percent of the firm once the transaction closes.

Link to Company News:{BCE CN <Equity> CN <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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