BCE denies alternative offer

The Canadian telecom giant said it received no alternative offer from its private equity suitors over its record $40bn take-private. Ontario Teachers' and Providence Equity Partners were reportedly contemplating minority stakes.

Canadian telecom giant BCE has said the private equity consortium that agreed to purchase the company for a record $40 billion has not approached BCE with an alternative plan involving minority stakes.

The Montreal-based internet and phone company issued a statement earlier today in response to various media reports that Providence Equity Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, two of the four firms involved in the buyout, were considering scrapping the take-private for smaller stakes.

Those reports also stated that the buyout groups’ two other investors, Madison Dearborn Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, were not interested in such an alternative.

“While it is BCE’s policy not to comment on rumours or speculation, in the interest of its shareholders, BCE is today confirming that no such offer has been made to the company,” BCE said in the statement. “The company continues to work with KPMG and the Purchaser to seek to satisfy all closing conditions under the June 29, 2007 Definitive Agreement, as amendment.”

The buyout’s closure remains uncertain after BCE auditor KPMG said last week that it could not guarantee that BCE would remain solvent after the merger, considering the $26 billion in debt the company would be tacking on.

The takeover’s schedule closing date is 11 December, at which point the buyout’s financiers will no longer be legally obligated to fund the transaction.