After months of talks, Montreal-based Astral Media Inc. has reached an agreement to purchase Standard Broadcasting Corp., Canada's largest privately owned broadcaster. The purchase price was not disclosed but it could be worth more than $1.1 billion (US $948 million), according to sources

Astral issued a press release late Friday (Feb. 23) confirming it signed a letter of intent to buy Standard, though a deal has not been finalized.

Astral "has entered into exclusive negotiations regarding the acquisition of substantially all of the assets" of Standard, the company said in a statement issued after the markets closed

Astral has been eyeing expansion recently. Last summer, it bid on radio and TV broadcaster CHUM Ltd., which ultimately went to winning bidder Bell GlobeMedia -- since renamed CTV GlobeMedia -- for $1.7 billion (US $1.5 billion).

Astral currently has 29 radio stations in Quebec and Atlantic Canada and owns pay and specialty TV channels, including The Movie Network (TMN).

Standard owns 51 radio stations across the country, and interests in the satellite radio service Sirius Canada, and the syndication company Sound Source Networks.

Plans to float part of Standard's radio business into an income trust were shelved last summer, leading to speculation the entire business would be sold privately.