Cerberus Taking a Bipolar Approach to BCE

by: George Gutowski

BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) has multiple groups circling, trying to figure out a way to acquire the telco, which for so long has disappointed investors and customers. Cerberus, in meetings with the the Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty as well as with overall lobbying efforts, has promised to retain the current but very embattled CEO Michael Sabia.

Cerberus, which is supposed to find BCE attractive because it feels it can fix and improve it, is now telling the market it will keep the old CEO. Michael Sabia, justifiably or not, has taken much of the criticism for not really fixing BCE. The criticism was starting to stick because Michael Sabia has been in the driver's seat long enough to make a difference.

So if you like the old team, why not just buy the stock and hold it in your portfolio.

The entire process is becoming more political than financial. So one wonders what manner of offspring will come from all of this. Jim Flaherty, currently the Finance Minister, took a lot of political heat for reversing his stand on income trusts and upsetting the entire investment community. BCE was a major factor at the time. It would be understandable if the minister hates his phone.

In the meantime, while BCE is distracted with strategic 'who will own us' crap, Rogers Communications (RG), the main competitor to BCE, is sailing along doing profitable deals and laughing all the way to the bank. At least for now.