Canada's BCE shares continue slide amid credit jitters

Shares in Canada's largest telecom company, BCE, continued to fall as nervous investors fear US credit market problems could jeopardize the C$51.7-billion sale ($50.3 billion) sale of the telecom giant to a private equity consortium, an analyst, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

'I think it's going to continue to be under pressure as the credit markets continue to seem to be in turmoil,' Troy Crandall of MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier said.

'If tomorrow the credit markets improve or (US Federal Reserve chairman Ben) Bernanke comes out with an emergency rate cut, this thing could turn around in an instant.'

The Montreal-based company's shares were down for the fifth consecutive day, losing 29 Canadian cents to C$36.24 ($35.26) in trading, the Associated Press report said.

Crandall said the share price suggests many investors now believe there's only a 50-50 chance the company will be sold to a group led by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, the report said.

The group, which also includes Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, has offered C$42.75 per share for BCE. The group plans to finance the deal with up to C$40 billion of debt.

If the sale does proceed, it will be the largest deal in Canadian history, the report further said.