The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers’) says it won’t sell Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).

Following various unsolicited expressions of interest in MLSE—which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies, Air Canada Centre, Maple Leaf Square and several TV assets and websites—Teachers’ and its advisors began to review its ownership stake in the company back in March.

“Teachers’ has concluded this eight-month process with the decision to maintain its stake in MLSE, which has been and continues to be a very successful investment,” the pension fund said in a statement.

Teachers’ increased its stake in the company to 79.5% in September with the acquisition of TD Capital Group’s 13.46% minority stake. Teachers’ now owns 79.53% of MLSE.

Kilmer Sports, which is controlled by Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum, owns the remaining stake and holds a right of first refusal on any sale by Teachers’.

U.S. private equity firm Providence Equity Partners—the company behind the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network—had expressed an interest in buying the 80% MLSE stake.

Rogers Communications Inc., which owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise, was also named as another possible bidder.

It’s estimated MLSE is worth between $1.5 billion and $2 billion since the Leafs are a lucrative money maker in what has long been one of the best hockey markets in the world.

Teachers’ said in a statement that it will not be commenting further on the decision.

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

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