Maple Leafs sale

Just kidding: Maple Leafs not for sale after all

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Remember when the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund was set to sell off their 79.5% stake in the Toronto Maple Leafs? You can forget all about that now, they’re hanging on to what they’ve got.

Tara Perkins of The Globe And Mail out of Toronto reports that the Teachers’ Fund isn’t going to sell off their stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment after doing months of research as to whether or not they should. As it turns out, selling something that works as a virtual license to print money in Canada isn’t the best business decision around.

All this means now is that status quo exists in Toronto and there’s no reason to think anything is going to change at the executive level with the Leafs. This might prove disappointing to anyone hoping to see a huge ownership change-borne shakeup with one of the NHL’s cornerstone franchises.

Of course, if you’re looking to keep up with potential executive level fun like that, we suggest following the Coyotes saga or what’s going on in New Jersey to fulfill your corporate raider needs.

Pension Plan Fund reps say they did not receive ‘firm offer’ to sell Toronto Maple Leafs

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There were quite a few eyebrows raised when the Toronto Sun cited anonymous sources who claimed that media company Rogers would attempt to acquire the Toronto Maple Leafs (along with other Toronto entities, including the NBA’s Raptors) in a $1.3 billion mega deal.

Well, at least one group of people are shooting down the rumors: the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, a group with a substantial ownership stake in the Maple Leafs and Raptors franchises.

The Associated Press reports that Jim Leech, President and CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said that they never received a “firm offer” for the team, which is an interesting turn of phrase that could mean plenty of things. It could be a sign that these are unfounded rumors just as easily as it could mean that they are simply being coy about very real discussions.

So does this mean the Leafs won’t be sold? Not necessarily. We’ll keep an eye on this situation to see if it develops.

Report: Rogers in talks to buy Toronto Maple Leafs as part of $1.3B mega deal

The Toronto Sun reports that media company Rogers is looking into possibly buying the Toronto Maple Leafs along with their minor league team the Toronto Marlies as a part of an enormous deal said to total $1.3 billion. Along with the Leafs and the Marlies, the sale would reportedly include the Toronto Raptors as well as the Toronto FC soccer club.

Rogers already own the Toronto Blue Jays, so such a deal would seem to give them a near monopoly on sports teams in that specific region. In fact, those Toronto Sun reporters (Robert Cribb and Tony VanAlphen) wrote that the move might be seen as a preemptive one to keep rival network TSN from launching a regional network for the Toronto sports teams.

While a lot of this talk focuses on big money matters for two huge media companies, the two Sun reporters interviewed a source who said that the deal could also be good for Leafs fans, noting that Rogers would be less “bottom-line oriented.” At least from the standpoint that winning teams draw higher ratings than losers do.

Cribb and VanAlphen point out that this deal would make Rogers one of the biggest sports networks in North America.

For Rogers, the programming enticements of a deal are irresistible.

Rogers, which already has epublishing, cable, radio and wireless interests and owns the Blue Jays baseball club, could merge Leafs and Raptors TV, add the Toronto FC games and effectively start the most powerful regional sports network in the country. It would be among the biggest in North America.

“It’s a home run,” said one source. “Content is king. The only way you can draw new subscribers is through compelling, unique and exclusive programming.”

When pressed, Maple Leafs front office people more or less gave the reports a “no comment” response. While that doesn’t confirm the reports, it certainly won’t do much to stop the rumors from getting hot and heavy.

That being said, do note that this is far from confirmed at this time. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.