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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Stake Sale Would Value Toronto Pro Sports Teams At Record $8B

  • Deal involves equity in Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, Argonauts, among other assets
  • Tanenbaum has long been one of sports' most influential figures
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

An Ontario pension fund is close to a deal to buy 20% of a holding company owning a minority stake in most of Toronto’s pro teams, per industry sources and multiple reports, in a deal that would value the sports assets at a record $8 billion.

The developing $400 million agreement, sources told Front Office Sports, would see the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) acquire a fifth of Kilmer Sports, part of the private entity led by Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). Kilmer owns 25% of MLSE, parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Argonauts, Scotiabank Arena, and other assets.

OMERS would hold a 5% indirect stake in MLSE. The NBA, NHL, MLS, and CFL would all need to approve the pact, among other required sign-offs. The transaction is said to be related to estate planning for the 78-year-old Tanenbaum — at a peak time for sports franchise sales.

The $8 billion valuation exceeds Josh Harris’ $6.05 billion purchase of the NFL’s Washington Commanders, but this deal involves several franchises, multiple facilities, and a range of other media holdings.

Tanenbaum is currently chair of the NBA’s Board of Governors and has been an influential figure across hockey, basketball, soccer, and Canadian football. The remaining portions of MLSE are owned by Rogers Communications and Bell Canada parent BCE Inc.

OMERS had $94 billion in assets as of the end of 2022 and is one of the world’s largest fund managers.

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