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CRTC Denies BCE’s Bid to Acquire Astral

CRTC denies Bell’s bid to take over Astral; finds deal to be counter to public interest

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, October 18, 2012 – Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) denied BCE’s application to acquire control of Astral Media’s television and radio services because it is not in the public interest. Astral Media operates 84 radio stations and 20 pay and specialty television channels in both official languages.

“BCE failed to persuade us that the deal would benefit Canadians,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “It would have placed significant market power in the hands of one of the country’s largest media companies. We could not have ensured a robust Canadian broadcasting system without imposing extensive and intrusive safeguards, which would have been to the detriment of the entire industry.”

Canada’s media system is already one of the most highly concentrated in the industrialized world. Canadians pay high prices for worse content and services because of a lack of competition and choice

OpenMedia.ca, the Stop the Takeover Coalition, and thousands of Canadians had argued that this deal will only serve to further that.