TV

BCE announces next steps following approval of Astral takeover

As its acquisition of Astral Media moves towards its July 5 closing date, Bell Media says it will be opening new regional development offices in Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
June 28, 2013

Following Thursday’s decision from the CRTC approving BCE’s $3.4 billion acquisition of Astral Media, BCE has released some details of its immediate next steps as the transaction moves forward.

The acquisition, which will close on July 5, will create a combined company lead by a team of senior Astral and Bell Media execs, the company said in a statement.

While Montréal will remain the centre for French-language programming, Bell Media will open new regional development offices in Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Upon the transaction closing, Astral president and CEO Ian Greenberg will join the BCE board of directors.

As per BCE’s revised proposal to the CRTC, the company is divesting Astral assets including Teletoon/Télétoon, Teletoon Retro/Télétoon Rétro, Cartoon Network (Canada), Historia and Séries+, and two Ottawa radio stations to Corus Entertainment, a transaction valued at $400.6 million.

TV services on the auction block are Family, including Disney Junior, Disney XD, Musimax and MusiquePlus.

Bell Media will add eight Astral pay and specialty TV services to its roster: English-language service The Movie Network (which includes HBO Canada and TMN Encore), and French-language Super Écran, Cinépop, Canal Vie, Canal D, VRAK TV, and Ztélé.

Bell Media will also acquire Astral’s two rural OTA TV stations in B.C., CJDC in Dawson Creek and CFTK in Terrace, as well as Astral’s interest in the Viewer’s Choice Canada pay-per-view service.

The company will also add 77 Astral radio stations, including NRJ, Virgin Radio, Rouge fm and EZ Rock to its radio operations.

Bell Media also said it will continue to operate TNS 690 in Montreal as an English-language sports radio station, having asked the CRTC for an exemption from the radio Common Ownership Policy, which would have required BCE to divest the station.

(From Playback Daily)

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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