Bell Canada Debenture Holders Receive Decision from Quebec Superior Court Approving BCE Plan of Arrangement

    TORONTO, March 7 /CNW/ - The Committee comprising certain institutional
holders of 1997 Bell Canada debentures today received the decision of the
Honourable Justice Silcoff of the Quebec Superior Court of Justice approving a
plan of arrangement under which BCE will be acquired by a consortium led by
the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
    Committee members objected to the plan of arrangement because they
believe it is unfair to debenture holders. The proposed plan forces Bell
Canada, the BCE subsidiary in which Committee members hold bonds, to guarantee
$32 billion in loans that the purchaser will incur to purchase the shares of
BCE. Committee members believe that Bell will receive nothing in return for
guaranteeing that debt. The proposed plan has already led to a dramatic
decrease in the market value of the bonds and has led some credit agencies to
downgrade the bonds' status from investment grade to junk bond status.
    Committee members also believe that it was unfair for the directors of
Bell to have allowed Bell to guarantee the debt without considering the issue
from the perspective of Bell and its bondholders.
    In approving the proposed plan, the Court declined to accept the
debentureholders' submissions that the proposed plan was unfair to the
    While our clients are obviously disappointed with the result, they will
be reviewing the decision carefully over the coming days in order to consider
what steps, if any, they might want to take in response to the decision.
    The Committee is comprised of a "blue chip" roster of life insurance
companies and money managers in the North American market place such as
Addenda Capital Inc., Barclays Global Investors Canada Limited, CIBC Global
Asset Management Inc., Franklin Templeton Investments Corp., Her Majesty the
Queen in Right of Alberta, as Represented by the Minister of Finance, Manulife
Financial Corporation, Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management Ltd., Sun
Life Assurance Company of Canada, TD Asset Management Inc. and The Wawanesa
Life Insurance Company.

For further information:

For further information: Markus Koehnen, McMillan Binch Mendelsohn LLP,
Tel: (416) 865-7218, Cell: (416) 846-4961,; Paul
Macdonald, McMillan Binch Mendelsohn LLP, Tel: (416) 865-7167, Cell: (416)
312-4868,; Counsel for the Informal Committee of
Debenture Holders under the 1997 Indentures

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