BCE: Bondholders Out of Luck

BCE has announced:

that the Québec Superior Court has approved BCE’s plan of arrangement for the company’s privatization transaction and dismissed all claims asserted by or on behalf of certain holders of Bell Canada debentures.

“We are very pleased with the Superior Court’s decisions. On every point of contention, the Court ruled in favour of BCE,” said Martine Turcotte, Chief Legal Officer of BCE and Bell Canada. “The Court’s decisions affirm our long-standing position that the claims of these debentureholders are without merit and that BCE acted in accordance with its rights and obligations with respect to the debentureholders. We now look forward to closing the privatization transaction with the investor group led by Teachers’ Private Capital, the private investment arm of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity,” added Martine Turcotte.

The remaining conditions to the closing of the privatization transaction include the required approvals of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and Industry Canada. Subject to any appeal by the debentureholders and the timing and terms of such an appeal, BCE expects the transaction to close in the first part of the second quarter of 2008.

In the event the debentureholders decide to appeal the Québec Superior Court’s judgments, they have agreed the appeal must be filed with the Québec Court of Appeal by March 17, 2008.

The deal has been previously reviewed on PrefBlog.

I never considered the bondholders’ suit to be much of a threat to the deal. The two threats I consider paramount are:

  • Teachers’ (and its partners) willingness to proceed with a deal – the risk/reward will definitely have changed since the agreement, and
  • Availability of financing

We will see!

BCE has the following preferred shares outstanding: BCE.PR.A, BCE.PR.C, BCE.PR.D, BCE.PR.E, BCE.PR.F, BCE.PR.G, BCE.PR.H, BCE.PR.I, BCE.PR.R, BCE.PR.S, BCE.PR.T, BCE.PR.Y & BCE.PR.Z

One Response to “BCE: Bondholders Out of Luck”

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