Canada competition bureau to rule on BCE-Astral deal -La Presse

Mon Mar 4, 2013 3:19pm EST
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* After Competition Bureau, CRTC must still decide

* BCE-Astral deal worth C$3 billion

* CRTC scheduled to announce hearing dates this week

OTTAWA, March 4 (Reuters) - Canada's Competition Bureau will rule at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) on Monday on a C$3 billion ($3 billion) plan by BCE Inc, the country's biggest telecom firm, to take over Astral Media Inc, La Presse newspaper reported.

Even if the government agency approves it, the bid must still pass muster with the telecoms regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is scheduled this week to announce the dates of a hearing on the proposal.

The two companies submitted a revised bid on Nov. 19 after the CRTC rejected its previous offer.

BCE is the parent of Bell Canada, and Astral, which owns specialty television channels, is its biggest content provider.

($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Randall Palmer and Louise Egan; Editing by Peter Galloway)