Puck Daddy - NHL

The B-word -- and that would be "billion" -- gets used quite frequently when the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan's 66-percent ownership stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is discussed.

So now that their stake is officially up for sale, the mind boggles at how much majority ownership of MLSE will be worth should they sell.

From CNW news services in Canada:

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan today stated that it will explore the possibility of selling its 66% majority share of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and will be making no further public comment on the matter.

With more than $100 billion in assets, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada. An independent organization, it invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 295,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario. For more information visit www.otpp.com.

That news was broken by Jean-Sébastien Gagnon of La Presse on Saturday night, as he reported the Teachers' Pension Plan had hired Morgan Stanley to find investors.  Pension Plan Puppets provides the analysis:

Larry Tanenbaum, who has long wanted to be the sole owner of MLSE, currently owns 20.5% of the corporation but has the right of first refusal on the OTPP's 66% as well as on TD Capital's 13%. Therefore, Gagnon speculates that part of the reasoning behind hiring Morgan Stanley is so that once they identify the highest bidder they will present that price tag to Larry Tanenbaum who can then match it or miss what will likely be his only opportunity to fulfill his life's dream. Current estimates place the value of their holdings at between $1.3 and $1.5 billion.

Keep in mind that report from last December stating Rogers' interest in MLSE and the Leafs, in an effort to create a media monster and to become the first company with majority ownership of NHL, MLB and NBA teams. This move by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan means they're casting a wider net.

Our tongue-in-cheek master plan: Step 1: Matthew Hulsizer buys a majority share of Leafs. Step 2: The Leafs green light a team in Hamilton. Step 3: Jim Balsillie buys and relocates Coyotes to Hamilton.

We presented this on Twitter earlier; it didn't go over well with the Coyotes fans (or Sabres fans).

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