BCE Gets Positive 2nd Opinion — Sources

NEW YORK/TORONTO (Reuters) – BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(BCE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Canadian telecom giant whose C$34.8 billion ($27.8 billion) buyout appears close to collapse, has received a second accounting opinion that found it would be solvent after the deal is done, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

The source said BCE retained PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide a second solvency opinion. The move comes after BCE announced in late November that KPMG, its accountants, had found the company would fail such a solvency test because of the huge debt load related to the deal.

Montreal-based BCE is being bought by a group of private-equity investors led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in a leveraged buyout billed as the world’s largest.

A positive opinion from KPMG is a condition to the deal’s closing, which is slated for Thursday. Without it, BCE has said the transaction is unlikely to proceed.

However, it wasn’t immediately clear what impact PricewaterhouseCoopers’ opinion would have on the buyout. BCE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, analysts have said the buyout is all but dead given KPMG’s ruling.

($1=$.25 Canadian) (Reporting by Megan Davies in New York and Wojtek Dabrowski in Toronto; editing by Richard Chang)