Teachers’ rumoured to have exited BCE

26 May 2009

The Canadian Press reports that the largest stakeholder of the country’s biggest telecoms group BCE has apparently sold its entire holding of approximately 40 million shares, as the parent of Bell Canada and Bell Aliant faces increasing competitive challenges in a sluggish economy. Neither the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan nor BCE would confirm the rumour, but around 44.4 million BCE shares changed hands last Friday – the biggest turnover since 26 November when it became apparent that the leveraged buyout bid for BCE led by Teachers’ would collapse. The Canadian Press report continues that, following the rumour, Friday’s share price ranged between CAD24.11 and CAD22.94, compared with the CAD42.75 offered by Teachers’ and its private equity consortium, and CAD25 on 26 November (down from CAD38 the previous day). Teachers’ owned about 40 million BCE shares as of 31 March 2009, whilst BCE said it completed a buyback of 40 million shares between December 2008 and May 2009 at an average price of CAD24.65 per share. BCE has fully distributed ownership and is listed on domestic and US stock markets.

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