BUSINESS

CRTC to release decision on proposed BCE deal to buy Astral Media for $3.4B

10/17/2012 05:09 EDT | Updated 12/17/2012 05:12 EST
OTTAWA - The federal broadcast regulator says it will release its decision on its review of BCE Inc.'s (TSX:BCE) proposed deal to buy Astral Media Inc. (TSX:ACM.A) on Thursday.

The CRTC said the decision will be posted to its website at 4 p.m. ET.

The takeover has been opposed by a long list of companies and groups including many of BCE's key competitors who have raised concerns it would give the company too much control over content and the potential to negatively affect consumers.

Telus Corp. (TSX:T), Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) and Quebecor (TSX:QBR.B) came out against the deal at hearings in Montreal last month. However, Calgary's Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) has said it supports the deal.

Bell has said it needs to get bigger to take on foreign online competitors like Netflix and that if the deal is killed that Astral's assets will ultimately be split up, guaranteeing continued foreign dominance in the way that online content is delivered.

Astral own 25 channels, including The Movie Network, HBO Canada and French-language Super Ecran, Family Channel and Disney Junior and more than 80 radio stations.

BCE owns Bell Canada, the CTV television network, the former Chum radio stations and numerous specialty TV channels, as well as online sites for them all.