Rogers mulling sale of MLB's Blue Jays
Rogers Communications, the Canadian telecomms group, is considering selling the Toronto Blue Jays, its Major League Baseball franchise, and using the cash for its core business, chief financial officer Tony Staffieri has said.
Rogers, which owns pay-TV broadcaster Sportsnet, bought 80 per cent of the Blue Jays in 2000 and the remaining 20 per cent in 2004, as part of a strategy to obtain broadcasting rights for what is Canada’s sole MLB team.
The company, which has about $13 billion in outstanding debt, now believes it could make more sense to sell the team and license broadcast rights from a new owner, Staffieri told a UBS investor conference in New York this week.
He said: “We can get the exclusive content through renting it,” adding that the company would “like to get the content without necessarily having the capital tied up on our balance sheet.”
He said no deal is imminent.
The Blue Jays were ranked by Forbes as the 16th-most valuable MLB team this year out of 30, worth $1.3 billion.
Rogers, along with rival BCE, also holds a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, owner of NHL ice hockey’s Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA basketball’s Toronto Raptors, as well as Toronto FC, which competes in North America’s Major League Soccer, in a C$1.32-billion (now $1.03-billion) deal completed in August 2012.
Staffieri gave no indication that Rogers was looking to sell its stake in MLSE.