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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bell Canada Welcomes $48.5Bln Bid

TORONTO -- Bell Canada agreed to be bought by a private partnership led by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan in a deal valued at 51.7 billion Canadian dollars ($48.5 billion), which would be the largest leveraged buyout ever.

The cash deal announced Saturday to take Canada's largest telecommunications company private, if approved by shareholders, would also be the largest takeover ever in Canada.

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan board, the U.S.-based Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners would buy BCE for $51.7 billion Canadian dollars, including the assumption of $16.9 billion Canadian dollars worth of debt, preferred equity and minority interests, BCE said.

The Toronto-based pension plan -- with assets of $106 billion Canadian dollars in 2006 -- administers the retirement funds for Ontario's 167,000 teachers and 104,000 retired teachers.

The pension plan was BCE's largest shareholder with a 6.3 percent stake.

Michael Hlinka, an independent financial analyst, called the deal unique because it involved a leveraged buyout by a private partnership of a huge public company.

Jim Leech, senior vice president of Teachers' Private Capital, the investment wing of the pension plan, said the deal was larger than the February purchase of energy provider TXU for a record $45 billion.

"This is bigger than that, but that's not why we bought it," Leech said. "It's a bit daunting."