What CRTC decision means for MLSE sale

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Yesterday, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) announced that large Canadian telecommunications companies that also own other assets like TV broadcasters cannot make that content exclusive to their customers. They must offer their content to every competitor at a reasonable price. This rule specifically applies to companies like BCE Inc. (Bell), Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc. These companies are not happy with this decision because it will hurt their ability to compete since certain content that they each own will have to be made available to their competition.

The main thing I can think about after hearing this is what does this mean for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment? The company that owns the Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Raptors TV, Leafs TV and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto is known to be looking for a buyer. It has been long suspected that Rogers was interested in it and perhaps Bell was as well. For those two companies to own this gem of an asset would allow them to control the biggest NHL franchise and the only Canadian NBA franchise. This would be the best exclusive content anyone could dream of. However, now that this content could not be made exclusive, will Rogers and Bell be less willing to buy MLSE?

This is something that only time will have an answer to, but I can certainly see Rogers and Bell being less willing to pay as high a price as they may have considered before yesterday’s CRTC decision. This may open the door a little wider for current largest minority owner of MLSE, Larry Tanenbaum. It is said that he could not buy this company by himself and would need some partners. Perhaps the price of MLSE just dropped a little, making it low enough for him and his team to make a deal. From this CRTC decision, the future of MLSE is what I find most interesting.