Friday, March 16, 2012

Bell Buys Astral For $3.38 Billion

Canada's largest telecommunications company BCE Inc. reports it has reached an agreement to buy Astral Media Inc. for $3.38 billion in cash and stock, giving the Montreal-based company a slate of media assets that include television channels and radio stations across Canada.

Astral is noted as Canada's largest pay and specialty TV broadcaster, owning 83 radio stations in 50 Canadian markets.

Bell's new acquisitions include Astral television stations HBO Canada, the Movie Network and the Family Channel, as well as radio stations under brands like Virgin Radio and EZ Rock.

"We believe that the transaction with Bell is an excellent opportunity for Astral, its shareholders and employees," said Astral president and CEO Ian Greenberg. "After 15 years as commercial partners, we know each other well and share many important values."

As with all things Canadian, the transaction will require approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Bureau before it's a done deal.

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