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Bell Canada to buy media firm for $3.41bn
19 March 2012
Deal gives Bell Canada access to Astral Media’s French-language TV, radio stations and digital media
BCE, owner of Canada’s Bell and Bell Aliant brands, is to buy Astral Media for about C$3.38 billion (US $3.41 billion), including net debt.
Bell said the deal provides it with access to Astral’s 84 radio stations, 22 television channels, 100-plus websites and digital media properties, and 9,500 advertising platforms, thereby supporting the Canadian operator’s strategy to invest in broadband networks and content, particularly in Québec.
George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, said: “Astral's strong financial position enables Bell to further accelerate our significant investment in broadband innovation across Québec, such as our launch this month of ultra high speed Fibe service directly to homes and businesses across Québec City and our rollout of next-generation mobile LTE.”
Astral’s team will move to the Bell Media business, which was formed in April 2011 after Bell acquired Canadian media company CTV.
Cope said: “Bell is gaining a well-seasoned national Astral management team, dramatically expanding our French-language content, and more than levelling the playing field with our largest broadcast media competitor in Québec. We greatly look forward to welcoming Astral's renowned leader Ian Greenberg to our board of directors.” GTB
Further reading from Global Telecoms Business:
Canada eases limits for foreign shareholders 16 Mar 2012
Bell Aliant raises $316m in debt issue 21 Apr 2011
Bell Canada sells $1.03bn in debt 10 Mar 2011
Bell Canada to buy back $466m shares 18 Dec 2009