Canada Telecom Giant Bell Buys Astral Media

March 16, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Media concentration is a big issue in Canada, and it just got bigger as the country’s largest telecommunications company BCE Inc. – which already owns TV networks and newspapers – just bought Quebec-based Astral Media, which owns specialty TV channels and radio stations, and one of the largest OOH-Dogital OOH footprints in the country.

The deal announced this morning is for $3.38 billion in cash and stock. It’s a nice deal for shareholders, given the transaction is valued at $50 per share, and Astral shares closed at $36.25 yesterday.

Astral is Canada’s largest pay and specialty TV broadcaster, owning 83 radio stations in 50 Canadian markets, and the third-largest outdoor advertising company. The transaction will need the OK from telecoms regulators and the e Competition Bureau.

Media in Canada is increasingly being concentrated between a handful of companies, the two biggest – Bell and Rogers – also largely owning the terrestrial and wireless distribution channels as cable, mobile and internet service carriers.l;

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