Bell cleared to buy Astral Media, creates a Canadian TV powerhouse
Bell tried to shake up the Canadian media landscape last year by acquiring Astral Media, but it ran into a CRTC-sized roadblock — regulators didn’t want 25 TV stations moving to one provider. After some big concessions, however, Bell has received approval to buy Astral for $3.2 billion. The revised deal gives Bell control of 12 channels that include The Movie Network, HBO Canada’s owner. Bell is offloading some important TV content to move forward, though. Corus gets several recognizable channels that include the Cartoon Network and Teletoon, while big stations like Disney XD and MusiquePlus are on the auction block. Not that Bell will complain too loudly when the buyout closes on July 5th, mind you. The merger still gives it 35.8 percent of the English Canadian TV market and 22.6 percent of its French Canadian equivalent, or enough to immediately eclipse rivals like Rogers and Quebecor.
By Jon Fingas