Canadian broadcast regulator set to rule on BCE-Astral deal

Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:39pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission said it will issue its decision on Thursday on BCE Inc's (BCE.TO: Quote) controversial C$3 billion takeover of content provider Astral Media Inc ACMa.TO.

The potential deal has spawned a slew of objections from BCE's rivals in the Canadian media sector, who fear that the deal will give the telecom and media company too much heft and power in the market.

In public hearings before broadcast regulator CRTC last month, BCE's competitors including Telus Corp (T.TO: Quote), Quebecor Inc (QBRa.TO: Quote) and Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote) all voiced strong issues with the deal.

The takeover announced in March would give BCE control over its largest content provider Astral, allowing it to lock up more of the programming carried over its media platforms and expand its presence in French-speaking Quebec.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Leslie Adler)