CRTC Nixes Bell-Astral Deal
October 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM (PT)
The CRTC has denied BELL MEDIA RADIO parent BCE's attempted C$3.4 billion purchase of ASTRAL MEDIA, calling the deal "not in the public interest." The agency said it was not persuaded that the deal would provide "significant and unequivocal benefits to the Canadian broadcasting system and to Canadians sufficient to outweigh its concerns," which included ownership concentration, vertical integration, and exercise of market power in an anti-competitive manner.
“BCE failed to persuade us that the deal would benefit Canadians,” said CRTC Chairman JEAN-PIERRE BLAIS. “It would have placed significant market power in the hands of one of the country’s largest media companies. We could not have ensured a robust Canadian broadcasting system without imposing extensive and intrusive safeguards, which would have been to the detriment of the entire industry.”
As part of the decision, the agency also denied BELL's application to convert Sports CKGM-A (TSN RADIO 690)/MONTREAL from English to French Sports, rendered moot by the deal's failure to gain approval.