Canadian Regulators Deny BCE's $3.4 Billion Bid To Purchase Astral Media
Canadian Regulators Deny BCE's $3.4 Billion Bid To Purchase Astral Media

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), Canada's biggest telecommunications company, just got even bigger. The company will buy Quebec-based Astral Media Inc. for $3.38 billion cdn (about $3.4 billion U.S.). The deal includes net debt of $380 million, and will be funded with a combination of cash and BCE common equity.

In an Astral Media Inc. press release today (March 16) - in advance of a conference call for media analysts and live press conference in Montreal - the company said Bell will acquire Astral's pay and specialty television channels, 83 radio stations, digital media properties and outdoor advertising division.

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Bell will acquire all Class A Non-Voting Shares of Astral for $50 per share for a total consideration of approximately $2.8 billion and all Class B Subordinate Voting Shares for $54.83 per share, for a total consideration of approximately $151 million, and all Special Shares for a total consideration of $50 million.

"This is an exciting moment in the history of Astral," said Astral president and CEO Ian Greenberg in a statement. "We believe that the transaction with Bell is an excellent opportunity for Astral, its shareholders and employees. After 15 years as commercial partners, we know each other well and share many important values. The fit between our two companies is a natural and I look forward to seeing our brands become even stronger as part of the Bell family."

Greenberg will sit on BCE's board of directors as part of the deal.

"Bell welcomes Astral and its strong team of media professionals, who have built an outstanding national media business, especially in the competitive Québec marketplace," stated BCE Inc. president and CEO George Cope. "Ian Greenberg is a renowned champion of Canadian broadcasting and we look forward to welcoming him to our Board of Directors. This transaction further accelerates Bell's strategy to deliver leading content like Astral's across our world-leading networks to all the broadband screens - TV, smartphone, tablet or computer - that our customers may choose."