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Paperwork delays completion of MLSE takeover

George Cope President and CEO of Bell Canada (left) Nadir Mohamed (centre) President and CEO of Rogers Communications and MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum chat following a press conference in Toronto on Friday December 9, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young


The sale of the majority interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. to Rogers Communications Inc. and BCE Inc. will not make the Aug. 1 closing the principals hoped for but it is still on track to be completed within a week.

A source familiar with the process said Tuesday that lawyers were not able to finish the paperwork in time to close Wednesday. There is no major obstacle to the closing and it is hoped all parties will sign off by next week.

All of the approvals necessary for the sale have been received, with the NHL, NBA, American Hockey League, Major Soccer League and the Competition Bureau all giving their consent to the sale of 75 per cent of MLSE. The only approval remaining is from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission but that is not considered an impediment to the sale.

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The CRTC's approval is needed because the sale includes three specialty channels, Leafs TV, Raptors TV and GolTV. The government body is not expected to issue its consent until early September but the closing can proceed without it.

Once the $1.3-billion sale of the company that owns, among other things, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, the Toronto Marlies and the Air Canada Centre, is completed, the board of directors will be changed. The board will shrink from seven directors to six with the incoming MLSE president not expected to get a seat. MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum, who owns the other 25 per cent of the company, will remain on the board as chairman along with his associate Dale Lastman while the other four seats will be split equally between Rogers and BCE.

It is known Rogers chief executive officer Nadir Mohamed and BCE boss George Cope will get two of the seats but the identity of the other two directors is not known. Rogers and BCE have agreed to vote their four seats as a block which should prevent any deadlocks.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More


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