BCE Equity to Be Held By Foreign Fund Managers?

| About: BCE Inc. (BCE)

Two pieces about BCE (NYSE:BCE) in The Globe and Mail yesterday. The first is about company directors concerns about undermining any bidding war for the company:

Other sources close to BCE said the company's board is concerned that a bulked-up CPP group could discourage other bidders - effectively undermining a bidding war - and lead to the perception of favouritism toward one party.

The sources said some directors are concerned about this perception in light of the role chief executive officer Michael Sabia played in helping recruit two pension funds, including the Caisse, to the CPP group.

"BCE board members are aware that the process seemed to create a favoured bidder, and they want to get rid of that perception," said one investment banker working with a potential buyer. He said lawyers working with BCE are also concerned about ensuring the sale process is open.

The second Globe and Mail piece is by Andrew Willis, and is music to my ears:

So, for the sake of argument, here's the choice that may soon face the BCE board, and the federal Conservatives. BCE may get two offers. Team CPPIB may throw down $41 a share, an offer that comes from a consortium that is 65 per cent domestic investors. A group led by Blackstone then bids $43, but just $1-billion of equity comes from a Canadian investor, though that partner holds the majority of the votes. (Hello, Onex.)

I know who investors are going to endorse; we proved with the Inco sale that cash tops patriotism. And the precedents are clear: Smart financiers are free to structure a way around that 46.7-per-cent cap. What's more Canadian than a dual-share class company? If the past is any predictor, the bulk of BCE's equity may soon be held by foreign fund managers.

Keep in mind, those dollar amounts he mentions are in Canadian Dollars.

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Tagged: , Telecom Services - Domestic, Canada
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