Friday, 16 March 2012

BCE snaps up Astral Media for $3.38-billion

BCE snaps up Astral Media for $3.38-billion
Jamie Sturgeon  Mar 16, 2012 – 7:42 AM ET | Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012 8:08 AM ET
#bell #astral @Bell_News @astral
BCE Inc. has agreed to acquire Astral Media Inc. in a blockbuster deal that cements the telecom giant’s media unit as the owner of the deepest and most lucrative set of television assets in the country.
The two companies are to announce a deal valued at $3.38-billion at a press conference in Montreal Friday morning.

If the deal gains approval — which is perhaps an obstacle — a stable of lucrative specialty channels and premium pay-television networks such as HBO Canada will join with Bell’s CTV Inc. broadcast network and more than twenty specialty channels already owned by Bell under Bell Media.
Astral’s pay-television business alone, which includes The Movie Network, generates profit before interest of about $70-million annually, while the company’s specialty assets are likewise profitable despite pessimism around new Internet broadcast competition from the likes of Netflix Inc.
“Specialty television assets continue to have the best financial momentum in the television space and Astral’s are generally held in high regard,” TD Securities analyst Scott Cuthbertson wrote in a note last month.

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