CRTC Approves Shaw Purchase Of Canwest Global
October 22, 2010 at 1:17 PM (PT)
The CRTC has approved the purchase by cable giant SHAW COMMUNICATIONS of a controlling equity interest in CANWEST GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS. SHAW, which shares common ownership with Canadian radio and TV operator CORUS ENTERTAINMENT but is independently operated, is buying a minimum 20% equity interest and 80% voting interest in CANWEST, the owner of the GLOBAL TV network and several newspapers and cable networks. SHAW will spend C$180.1 million converting 67 analog TV transmitters in smaller markets to digital, offering satellite receivers and dishes free to viewers who lose over-the-air access to their local or regional TV stations as of AUGUST 31, 2011 (plus free access to the signals via satellite), producing new two-hour morning newscasts in REGINA, SASKATOON, WINNIPEG, TORONTO, MONTREAL, and HALIFAX, purchasing more programming from independent producers, and investing in new media content supporting news programming.
"We are satisfied that this transaction will generate substantial benefits for the Canadian broadcasting system," said KONRAD VON FINCKENSTEIN, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "SHAW will provide the television properties involved in the transaction with stable ownership as they emerge from a period of uncertainty. The broadcasting system also stands to gain from SHAW's commitment to support local and independent programming and the transition to digital television."
CORUS ENTERTAINMENT, the radio and cable network operator, was spun off as an independent company from SHAW in 1999. The companies operate separately but are both controlled by founder J.R. SHAW and the SHAW family.
CRTC Opens Proceeding On Consolidation
Meanwhile, the CRTC is also launching a public proceeding to study the wider implications of the increase in integrated media companies in Canadian broadcasting. A public hearing on the issue is set for MAY 9, 2011 in GATINEAU, QC.
"The broadcasting industry is being significantly reshaped by a series of major transactions," said VON FINCKENSTEIN. "As a regulator, it is only prudent that we study the implications to ensure we have the right tools to deal with competitive concerns as they arise. Transactions will continue to be considered under the existing rules until we have completed our review."