BCE, the parent of Bell Canada and Bell Aliant, has taken another step closer to private ownership after shareholders approved a CAD51.7 billion (USD48.5 billion) cash and debt consortium takeover bid led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal on Friday, and on the same day the Competition Bureau gave its approval, saying that the buyout ‘was unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition’, after a review focusing particularly on Teachers’ shareholding in rival telco MTS Allstream. The Superior Court of Quebec in Montreal is expected to approve the deal at a hearing on 10 October. BCE expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2008.
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