Mergers & acquisitions

BCE Holders Cry Foul

10:45 AM -- As I sit here watching the BCE shareholders meeting so that I can report on whether or not the shareholders vote in favor of taking BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) private, I must first listen to what so far has been a parade of common shareholders take the microphone to contest the deal that would give them over a 40 percent return on their investment.

"This deal would trigger capital gains implications that would put the small shareholder into a higher tax bracket," complained one shareholder in an outrageous French accent.

"While I am sure this is a very good day for you, Mr. Sabia [CEO of BCE], this is not a good day for the small investor who trusted the future of the company as being one of the few companies available to the conservative long investor," said another French-type.

Michael Sabia, in response to each of these grievances, continued to preach that it is the board's fiduciary responsibility to bring the biggest return possible to shareholders. In the meantime, I'm still sitting here fighting off sleep listening to one French accent after another complain that they would rather spend the rest of their lives holding some mediocre stock that isn't going anywhere instead of making a quick 40 percent return that they likely won't get holding the stock long-term.

Still waiting for the vote...

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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