BCE and Astral Get CRTC Approval to Complete Merger on July 5

The $3.2 billion acquisition of Astral Media by BCE has gained approval from the CRTC as of June 27th.

On July 5, 2013 the two long-established Montréal companies will begin ramping up competition in the Canadian broadcasting sector, said George Cope, CEO of Bell and BCE.

However, the media giants will have to compete with less than they initially bargained for since the CRTC insisted that the united company divest of 11 television channels and 10 radio stations.

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group plans to acquire CKCE-FM in Calgary and two Winnipeg stations, CHIQ-FM and CFQX-FM. Also, Corus Entertainment will buy Ottawa radio stations CKQB-FM and CJOT-FM, which is part of a bigger parcel that includes several Astral TV services. An auction process is under way to sell off the other 5 radio stations.

As you might recall, the sale of Teletoon/Télétoon, Teletoon Retro/Télétoon Rétro, Cartoon Network (Canada), Historia and Séries+ to Corus were announced in March 2013 to satisfy Competition Bureau demands.

When all the media assets are fully divested, BCE will still maintain about 35.8 percent of the English language television market and 22.6 percent of the French segment.

BCE will have to further invest $246.9 million in new benefits including local French and English TV programming and adhere to code of conduct rules to complete the CRTC’s full requirements.

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