Bondholders angry over Bell acquisition

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Gavel So, just when everything was looking pretty nicely squared away with the Bell buyout, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Union was ready to drop $C51.7 billion on the deal (counting debt), Bell bondholders have started getting up in arms over the acquisition. Shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank with a 25% premium, but bondholders are seeing their staple 6.1% coupon for 2035 bond drop 23%.

When rumors of a private-equity deal for Bell Canada surfaced earlier in the year institutional bondholders began a letter-writing campaign to the company making clear they would “vigorously defend our rights as provided in the trust indentures” that govern the terms of the bonds. The authors of the letters included Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Sun Life Financial, Manulife Financial and Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management, according to the National Post.

Those are some big companies who aren’t too happy about the situation. Is it too late for Bell to call the whole thing off, or are they going to risk litigation by the angry bondholders?