BCE’s shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the privatization of the firm by a group led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

More than 97% of votes cast by holders voted in favour of the deal at a special meeting this morning, greatly exceeding the required 66.7% approval.

During the meeting, BCE’s chief executive officer Michael Sabia said he plans to step down, but didn’t say when he would leave the company.

The agreement to purchase BCE is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, but yesterday, The Globe and Mail reported that the deal may be delayed because the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission plans to hold public hearings on the takeover.

Separately, the Competition Bureau says it will not challenge the acquisition. Its review focused particularly on Teachers’ shareholding in Manitoba Telecom Services(MTS), a competitor to BCE. In a statement, the Bureau says: “The conclusion that the proposed transaction was unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition was based, in part, on the fact that Teachers’ has no right to appoint directors to the board of MTS.”

Click here to read our special section on the battle to buy BCE, The Rise of Private Equity.

To comment on this story, email craig.sebastiano@rci.rogers.com.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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