Quebecor bids for Habs

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Quebecor Media will file a formal offer today to buy the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal-based communications giant, which owns the Sun Media newspaper chain, cable company Videotron, the TVA television network, a number of magazines and is involved in developing 3G mobile phone technology, stated its interest in purchasing the storied NHL franchise soon after rumours surfaced earlier this spring that owner George Gillett, who holds an 80% stake, was considering selling the club.

"The Montreal Canadiens hockey team is unquestionably one of the most prestigious and iconic sports franchises in the world," Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau said yesterday in a press release. "The team has been part and parcel of our history for a hundred years. We therefore regard this as a golden opportunity for a Quebec group to return this grand institution to local ownership."

ANGELIL'S SUPPORT

The offer will be presented to BMO Financial Group, which is acting on behalf of Gillett. Quebec pension fund Caisse de depot et placement, co-shareholder with Quebecor of Quebecor Media, has approved the formal offer. The Fonds de solidarite FTQ and Les Productions Feeling, Celine Dion's husband Rene Angelil's management company, are throwing their support behind the Quebecor Media bid.

News of Quebecor Media's offer today comes after brothers Geoff, Andrew and Justin Molson filed a bid yesterday for the Canadiens, its home arena the Bell Centre, and concert promoter Gillett Entertainment Group.

The Solidarity Fund of the Quebec Federation of Labour confirmed it is in the mix to buy the Canadiens as have other parties, including Joey Saputo, head of Montreal-based dairy empire Saputo Inc., Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberte and investment firm Claridge.

Forbes magazine estimates the Canadiens and the Bell Centre are worth about $415 million combined.


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