Bell shareholders to ring the changes

9 Aug 2007

Shareholders of Bell Canada Inc (BCE) will vote on the privatisation of the company at a special shareholders’ meeting next month, Canada’s largest phone company announced yesterday. Common and preferred shareholders will gather in Montreal on 21 September to cast their votes on the buyout led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners. The leveraged buyout deal is valued at CAD51.7 billion (USD48.5 billion), including CAD34.8 billion in cash and CAD16.9 billion of debt, preferred equity and minority interests, or CAD42.75 cash per share, representing a 40% premium over the average trading price of BCE shares in the first quarter of 2007. At the end of June the BCE board agreed to the consortium’s offer, which has secured financing from a syndicate of banks.