Ontario Teachers linked with biggest ever buyout

Shares in BCE, a Canadian telecoms group, soared today following speculation that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is talking to potential private equity partners about a $45 billion buyout.

Investors clamoured to buy the stock of Canadian telecoms giant BCE today, after reports that the company’s biggest shareholder is talking to private equity firms about a possible management buyout.

BCE’s share price hit a one-year high today following reports that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which holds a 5.3 percent stake, is considering teaming up with a buyout firm for a $45 billion take-private deal.

The Canada-based pension fund admitted in a regulatory filing that it is considering its options regarding BCE.

However, it denied reports that it is talking to buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts about a possible deal. “Teachers’ is not pursuing such transaction with KKR and has no current intention or plans to pursue such transaction with KKR,” the pension fund said.

Several scenarios have been suggested. The New York Times says Teachers is considering a joint bid with fellow Canadian pension funds Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, while the Globe and Mail says the pension plan is seeking the support of US buyout firm Providence Equity Partners to fund a deal.

The suggested price tag of $45 billion would rival KKR and TPG’s ongoing bid for US utility TXU as the biggest private equity deal to date.