DAILY NEWS Nov 19, 2012 6:10 AM - 0 comments

Astral Still in Talks with Bell over Media Sale; Bell Proposal Resubmitted

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Astral Media and BCE are still hoping to merge their media empires, and Astral says it is still holding discussions with Bell about the plan.

The companies continue to pursue regulatory approvals for Bell's acquisition of Astral, including, among other options, the filing of an extension application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The acquisition of Astral by Bell is subject to regulatory approval by the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.

An initial decision shot down the merger, as the CRTC ruled that Bell had not made a sufficiently beneficial case for the merger and its impact on the Canadian broadcast landscape overall.

Bell, in turn, said it was “shocked” by the negative decision, saying again that the merger would  grow the entire Canadian broadcasting industry and have a positive benefit for consumers and content creators alike.

So Bell is pursuing other regulatory and administrative options; as announced on October 25, 2012, Bell has elected to postpone the Outside Date for an agreement to December 16, 2012, and each of Bell and Astral has the right to further postpone the Outside Date to January 15, 2013.

The company has also resubmitted a bid to the CRTC, again seeking approval for its proposed multi-billion dollar buyout of Astral Media.

There is no still assurance that any transaction will occur or occur with the terms and conditions currently contemplated.

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