Bell Buys Astral Media
March 16, 2012 at 6:17 AM (PT)
In a major media acquisition in CANADA, BELL MEDIA parent BCE INC. is buying ASTRAL MEDIA INC. for C$3.38 billion, including net debt of C$380 million. BELL is paying for the transaction with a package of 75% cash and 25% common stock.
"This is an exciting moment in the history of ASTRAL," said ASTRAL Pres./CEO IAN GREENBERG. "We believe that the transaction with BELL is an excellent opportunity for ASTRAL, its shareholders and employees. After 15 years as commercial partners, we know each other well and share many important values. The fit between our two companies is a natural and I look forward to seeing our brands become even stronger as part of the BELL family. ASTRAL is very proud of its heritage. We owe our success to our talented and dedicated team at all levels. On behalf of the GREENBERG family and ASTRAL's Board of Directors, I would like to thank all our employees across the different regions of CANADA. Without their commitment and hard work, we could not have achieved this level of success."
"BELL welcomes ASTRAL and its strong team of media professionals, who have built an outstanding national media business, especially in the competitive QUEBEC marketplace. IAN GREENBERG is a renowned champion of Canadian broadcasting and we look forward to welcoming him to our Board of Directors when the transaction closes," said BELL President/CEO GEORGE COPE. "This transaction further accelerates BELL's strategy to deliver leading content like ASTRAL's across our world-leading networks to all the broadband screens -- TV, smartphone, tablet or computer -- that our customers may choose."
ASTRAL awns 83 radio stations in eight provinces and two French-language channels on SIRIUS CANADA as well as several national cable TV channels and two rural CBC TV affiliates in BRITISH COLUMBIA. BELL owns 35 radio stations in 16 markets; it also owns the CTV television network and its 21 O&O stations, the CTV TWO (formerly A CHANNEL) network of five terrestrial stations, 30 cable TV networks, the SYMPATICO.CA portal, a 15% stake in the national GLOBE AND MAIL newspaper, stakes in the MONTREAL CANADIENS and TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, the BELL TV satellite service, IPTV operation BELL FIBE TV, and the BELL CANADA and BELL MOBILITY telecommunications operation.