April 16, 2009 / 1:05 PM / 9 years ago

Celine Dion, others eye NHL's Canadiens: report

TORONTO (Reuters) - A group of Quebec’s elite including singer Celine Dion, Seagram heir Stephen Bronfman and Quebecor Inc head Pierre Karl Peladeau is considering a bid for the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens, the Globe and Mail said on Thursday.

<p>Montreal Canadiens' Saku Koivu (2nd left) celebrates his winning goal against Tampa Bay Lightning with teammates during overtime NHL hockey action in Montreal, March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi</p>

The newspaper, citing financial sources, said team owner George Gillett is mulling a second round of bids for the storied team which he bought nine years ago for $185 million.

The team, which has won 24 Stanley Cups, was not available for comment. It was recently valued at $335 million by Forbes magazine.

Potential buyers have been given full access to financial data concerning the Canadiens and the Bell Center arena where the team plays, one investment banker familiar with the process told the newspaper.

“There is a group bid being discussed, and it’s clear that Gillett is very willing to sell if the price is right,” the investment banker said.

The group is said to be contemplating a dedicated pay-TV channel in Quebec to carry the games and other hockey-related content as well.

The newspaper also said that Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte dropped out of the bidding last week and that Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, the province’s pension fund, is not expected to be an equity investor.

($1=$1.20 Canadian)

Reporting by Scott Anderson, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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