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BCE shares are rising Monday on the latest indication that the telecom company will be bought out, as scheduled, by early December.

BCE kicked off a $1.95-billion debt repurchase program Monday that will see three issues of bonds from its Bell Canada subsidiary retired by Dec. 10. That move, though widely anticipated, reinforced the view that the $35-billion buyout will finally close by Dec. 11.

BCE shares are up 1.9 per cent on Monday, changing hands at $38 on the TSX. While that price is below the $42.75 takeover offer from a group led by the Ontario Teacher Pension Plan, the spread has narrowed steadily over the past month. In mid-October, during the worst days of the market meltdown, BCE shares traded below $33.

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Bell Canada is retiring its 7.35 per cent series C Notes due Oct. 30, 2009, its 6.15 per cent debentures, series M-2, due June 15, 2009 and the 5.5 per cent debentures, series M-16, due Aug. 12, 2010.

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