Report: Rogers in talks to buy Leafs, other MLSE sports properties

TORONTO – A published report suggests Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.A) is in talks to buy the Toronto Maple Leafs in a deal worth more than $1 billion.

Citing anonymous sources, the Toronto Star reports the sale would include the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and the Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League minor hockey team.

The $1.3 billion deal would be the biggest transaction in Canadian sport history and transform Rogers Communications Inc., which already owns the Toronto Blue Jays, into one of the most powerful sports enterprises in North America.

Sources said the deal to buy a majority stake in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan would include the Leafs and Raptors TV stations, but not MLSE’s real estate holdings.

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“I know it’s real,” a top sports industry executive, who requested anonymity, told the newspaper. “I’ve heard it from Rogers at a high executive level and from MLSE at (the highest) level.”

Spokespersons with both Rogers and the Ontario Teachers’Pension Plan declined comment.

“It’s our policy to neither confirm or deny,”said Deborah Allan, director of communications and media relations for the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

Richard Peddie, MLSE’s chief executive officer, referred all questions to Teachers’representatives.

“It’s a shareholder matter,”he said.“I have not been involved in any discussions and I have no knowledge of it.”