Canada's Supreme Court has removed a key legal hurdle that had been in the way of the long-debated acquisition of Bell Canada parent firm BCE by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and three private equity firms. Without explaining its reasoning, which will apparently come in a court opinion to be issued later, the Canadian high court over-ruled a lower-court decision that would have blocked the $52 billion deal from proceeding. The lower court ruling had resulted from a lawsuit that had been filed by Bell Canada bondholders who said the amount of debt in the deal agreement killed the value of their bonds.
Though the Supreme Court decision helps the buyers, the acquisition still has more hurdles to overcome, as the buyers still are negotiating with banks for financing after the banks tried to toughen up the financing terms. The banks involved issued a statement late Friday articulating their intent to help get the deal done, but they likely still will push for a lower deal value or other changes.