Bell submits new proposal to acquire Astral
Bell Canada Enterprises announced Monday it has revised its original bid to buy Astral Media and and is submitting a new proposal.
Bell Canada Enterprises announced Monday it will submit a new proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to take over Montreal-based Astral Media.
Its last bid, in the spring, was rejected by the broadcast regulator because the deal would give Bell too much power over the market.
“We heard Canadians and the CRTC loud and clear – they want assurance that Astral joining with Bell Media will directly benefit consumers and creators,” said Bell president and CEO George Cope.
“We’re ready to deliver more choice for listeners and viewers, more opportunity for content creators, and more competition for the broadcasting industry. Bell and Astral are happy to move forward with a new proposal that benefits all Canadians, in both official languages, in communities large and small across the nation, with new ideas, new funding and new choices.”
The deal is valued at $3.38 billion. Details won’t be made public until the CRTC begins public hearings.
Montreal-based media critic and freelance writer Steve Faguy writes on his blog that the takeover would lead to a near-monopoly of English radio in the city:[node:ad]
“Normally, CRTC rules state that one company can own no more than two AM and two FM stations in a single market (English and French Montreal are considered separate markets), and that in markets with fewer than eight commercial radio stations, one company can own no more than three. The combined Bell-Astral would have a 61% total market share and a 79% commercial market share in English Montreal.”