06/25/2013 04:27 EDT | Updated 08/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Bell-Astral Deal To Be Decided By CRTC Thursday


GATINEAU, - The federal broadcast regulator will hand down its decision Thursday on Bell's proposed $3.8-billion acquisition of Astral Media (TSX:ACM.A).

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says it will announce its decision at 4 p.m., after markets close.

The CRTC rejected the deal last fall, saying it wasn't in the interest of Canadians.

Bell (TSX:BCE) has since offered to sell some of Astral's specialty TV channels and radio stations to satisfy CRTC concerns that it would be too dominant in the market.

But Bell has said it will drop its offer if forced by the CRTC to sell more of Astral's assets like The Movie Network because it would cripple attempts to compete with services like Netflix.

Bell has also said it would walk away from the deal if the CRTC forces it to sell more of Astral's French specialty TV channels because it wants to bring more competition to Quebec.

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