Rogers Communications to Invest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
Secures and accelerates delivery of premium content across Rogers world-class distribution platforms
Sportsnet to drive interactive and personalized sports experience for Canadians on the go
Builds on the company’s strong history in sports
TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2011 /CNW/ – Rogers Communications announced today that it, along with Bell Canada, is jointly acquiring a net 75 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The investment advances Rogers’ strategy to deliver highly sought- after content anywhere, anytime, on any platform across its broadband and wireless networks and its media assets, while strengthening the value of its sports brand, Sportsnet.
“MLSE is truly a world-class organization with some of the most iconic brands and popular sports teams across North America,” said Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications. “We’re excited to partner with MLSE to create highly interactive and engaging experiences for hockey, basketball and soccer fans, creating the perfect marriage of content and distribution. This investment fits squarely into our strategy of securing premium content and making it accessible to Canadians when, where and how they want it.”
Rogers has an extensive sports presence in Canada. The company owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, the Rogers Centre, and the multiplatform Sportsnet brand. Today’s announcement further strengthens Rogers’ commitment to the Canadian sports landscape and complements the company’s strategic alliance with the Vancouver Canucks, including naming rights for the Rogers Arena, and long-term media agreements with the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, CHL, NCAA, Rogers Cup, international soccer, UFC, and more.
“Sports is an integral part of our business and we’re committed to Sportsnet being the number one sports media brand in the country,” said Mohamed. “We’re passionate about sports and we look forward to building championship teams.”
Demonstrating its commitment to sport, Rogers has invested heavily in rebranding Sportsnet and is the first Canadian sports media brand to operate across five platforms: TV, radio, print, digital and mobile. Most recently the company launched Sportsnet magazine, Canada’s first and only national bi-weekly sports magazine. At the same time, this agreement enables Rogers to secure the best and most valuable sports content for its consumers, its partners and its media properties.
The company has invested substantially in leading-edge networks, such as LTE, Rogers on Demand, Rogers on Demand Online and mobile applications to bring Canadians the best content on their platform of choice. Most recently, the company launched live streaming of marquee sports properties, including Toronto Maple Leaf and Toronto Blue Jay games, Rogers Cup, FIFA World Cup, NBA TV and NFL Network.
Rogers’ net cash commitment, following a planned leveraged recapitalization of MLSE, will total approximately $533 million, representing a 37.5 percent equity interest in MLSE, and will be funded with cash on hand at closing. In a concurrent transaction, KSI Investments, owned by Larry Tanenbaum, will increase its current 20 percent ownership interest in MLSE to 25 percent.
“I am excited to welcome our new partners Bell and Rogers,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “I am proud this is a Made-in-Canada deal that will bring resources and expertise to help us win on and off the ice, court and pitch. This is a terrific path forward for our teams and our fans. It will ensure MLSE continues to make a positive impact in Toronto and across this great country of ours.”
Once the transaction closes, MLSE will be jointly owned by KSI Investments (25%), Bell and BCE Master Trust Fund (37.5%), and Rogers Communications (37.5%). Tanenbaum will continue to serve as Chair of MLSE and as a Governor of the NHL, NBA and Major League Soccer. Rogers and Bell have negotiated long-term sports broadcasting rights for MLSE content, at fair market value, for their respective television, wireless, digital and radio assets.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is Canada’s preeminent leader in delivering top quality sports and entertainment experiences to fans. MLSE owns and operates the Air Canada Centre, the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, MLS’s Toronto FC, the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, along with three television networks: Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada, and GOL TV Canada.
The transaction is expected to close in mid 2012 and is subject to regulatory and league approvals.
There will be a news conference today at 9:30 a.m. ET, which will be streamed live on Sportsnet, Sportsnet.ca, Sportsnet 590 The FAN, CityNews Channel, and 680News.
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements, Risks and Assumptions
This press release includes forward-looking statements and assumptions concerning our business and its operations approved by management on the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements and assumptions include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to our objectives and strategies to achieve those objectives, statements with respect to our beliefs, plans, expectations, anticipations, estimates or intentions, including guidance with respect to the closing, costs and benefits of the above mentioned MLSE transaction and all other statements that are not historical facts. The timing and completion of the proposed MLSE transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, any required regulatory and league approvals. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the timetable or on the terms and conditions contemplated in this news release. The proposed transaction could be modified, restructured or terminated. There can also be no assurance that the strategic benefits expected to result from the transaction will be fully realized.
We caution that all forward-looking information, including any statement regarding our current intentions, is inherently subject to change and uncertainty and that actual results may differ materially from the assumptions, estimates or expectations reflected in the forward-looking information. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements or could cause our current objectives and strategies to change. Therefore, should one or more of these risks materialize, should our objectives or strategies change, or should any other factors underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results and our plans may vary significantly from what we currently foresee. Accordingly, we warn investors to exercise caution when considering any such forward-looking information herein and that it would be unreasonable to rely on such statements as creating any legal rights regarding our future results or plans. We are under no obligation (and we expressly disclaim any such obligation) to update or alter any forward-looking statements or assumptions whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
About Rogers Communications
Rogers is a diversified public Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada’s largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada’s leading providers of cable television, high speed internet and telephony services. Through Rogers Media we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, and sports entertainment. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit www.rogers.com.