Steve Stavro, Chairman of the Board of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., announced Tuesday that the company is reorganizing the ownership structure to ensure the long term strength and stability of the company.
"As part of this reorganization, I am selling my interests in the company effective immediately. I will continue to serve as Non-executive Chairman on the Board of Directors through June 30, 2003.
"The time has come for me to pass the legacy of Canada's premier sports and entertainment group to the next generation of owners," said Stavro. "Personally, it has been a real privilege having the opportunity to follow in the tradition of some of the great hockey icons like Conn Smythe and Harold Ballard in building this great sports franchise. I know that I'm leaving the ownership in capable hands, with Canadian owners who have the resources to ensure that it remains one of the world's leading sports and entertainment organizations for years to come."
Stavro is indeed leaving a remarkable legacy. In 1998, he was instrumental in bringing the beloved Maple Leafs and the exciting, young Raptors under one roof with the building of the Air Canada Centre, thus creating one of the most dynamic sports and entertainment organizations in North America. He is credited with bringing together key partners that will continue to provide a solid future for the Leafs and Raptors and ensure that Canadian fans can continue to enjoy the teams for generations to come.
The new ownership structure of MLSEL has some familiar players with the Teachers' Merchant Bank, the private equity arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, increasing its investment to 58%; Bell Globemedia with an investment of 15%; TD Capital Group increasing its investment to 14%; and Kilmer Sports Inc., owned by Larry Tanenbaum, increasing its investment to 13%. The top priority of the group will be to provide the commitment and solid financial foundation essential to bringing a Stanley Cup and an NBA Championship to Toronto.
Courtesy Leafs TV
"We are very excited about what lies ahead for our organization and for our fans," said Larry Tanenbaum, owner of Kilmer Sports Inc. and non-executive chairman-elect of the MLSEL board. The ownership partners are avid supporters of both the Maple Leafs and Raptors and share a championship vision for both teams. "We are committed to providing the Leafs and Raptors with the resources they need to attain those championship goals," stated Tanenbaum.
The new structure ensures that Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. remains a strong Canadian entity with four of the country's most successful organizations supporting the teams, including one of the largest and most innovative pension funds in Canada, one of Canada's leading banks, a dynamic Canadian media company and a leading Canadian entrepreneur. The MLSEL ownership partners all have one objective in common - winning teams and satisfied fans.
Robert Bertram, Executive Vice President, Investments with Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, said, "We believe in the solid future of MLSE and its passionate commitment to developing championship teams. Winning is good business."
TD Capital's John MacIntyre, echoed these sentiments saying, "We are pleased to be part of a team committed to winning - on the ice, on the court and as a sports and entertainment business."
"Our participation in MLSEL is complementary to our core broadcast business," said Ivan Fecan, President and CEO of Bell Globemedia. "Bell Globemedia has extensive national reach in Canadian sports through TSN and RDS and already enjoys a good working relationship with MLSEL."
The new board of directors for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will be comprised of Steve A. Stavro (who will remain on the Board as Non-executive Chairman through June 30, 2003); Robert Bertram, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan; Jim Leech, Teachers' Merchant Bank; Dean Metcalf, Teachers' Merchant Bank; Ivan Fecan, Bell Globemedia; John MacIntyre, TD Capital Group; Larry Tanenbaum, (Non-executive Chairman-elect, July 1, 2003), Kilmer Sports Inc; Dale Lastman, Goodmans LLP; and Richard Peddie, (President and Chief Executive Officer), Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.
The ownership group is fully committed to the MLSEL management team and will devote the kinds of resources needed to attain the championship goals of the organization.
Closing of the transaction will occur as soon as the necessary approvals have been obtained from the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and other regulatory and non-regulatory bodies as applicable.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSEL) is a privately held organization that owns and operates Canada's most coveted sports and entertainment enterprises including the Air Canada Centre, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, LeafsTV, Raptors NBA TV and St. John's Maple Leafs.