Buyers dump €21bn BCE buy-out

The C$34.8 billion (€21.21 billion) buy-out of Canada's biggest telecoms company BCE has collapsed after the buyers insisted conditions had not been met, the Financial Times reports. The deal had been billed as one of the biggest buy-outs ever.

The collapse wasn't a surprise. In November independent accountants KPMG said the company would have far too high a level of debt to be viable after the buy-out.

Against fierce opposition from employees and other stakeholders, BCE agreed to the buy out by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, along with US-based private equity firms Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity nearly 18 months ago.

One of the deal's key conditions was receipt of a solvency opinion from a nationally recognised valuation firm, which in the event KPMG did not issue.

The parties agreed that in the circumstances "neither party owes a termination fee to the other".