CRTC Nixes Bell Takeover of Astral
Broadcast regulator says deal would have put too much power in one company's hands
Canada's broadcast regulator has nixed B-C-E's controversial 3.4-billion-dollar takeover of Astral Media.
The C-R-T-C says the deal would have placed too much power in the hands of one company and threatened the competitive media landscape in Canada.
Commission chairman Jean-Pierre Blais says Bell had not proven that this deal would benefit the broadcasting system or be in the public interest.
"This transaction would have resulted in an unprecedented level of consolidation in the Canadian marketplace, and we had grave concerns that BCE would be able to use its market power in an unfair manner and to engage in anti-competitive behaviour," said Blais at a news conference this afternoon.
Many observers had expected the regulator would approve the deal with conditions.
B-C-E's competitors earlier launched a major ad campaign promoting an online petition and telling Canadians to add their names.
The acquisition of Astral would have given the biggest player in the English T-V market an additional 25 channels and 80 radio stations.
Here in the northwest, Astral owns CFTK-TV, CJFW-FM and EasyRock stations in Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.