New CRTC application for Astral Media takeover goes public in weeks

Astral Media CEO Ian Greenberg (pictured) said the second go-around for BCE will include a "large" tangible benefits package to support Canadian content.
Ian Greenberg-1

A formal application by BCE for a second $3.38 billion run at taking over indie broadcaster Astral Media will be made public in the coming weeks.

So Astral Media CEO Ian Greenberg told company shareholders Wednesday as he insisted the revised proposed deal will “address the commission’s concerns and comply with the regulations.”

Greenberg didn’t unveil details on the regulator approval application for the second go-around.

He did argue the rejigged BCE deal will provide a new calculation for post-merger viewership thresholds required for approval of the deal.

“The position of the CRTC has been made clear on this matter, specifically viewership of media properties jointly owned with other companies must be fully included in viewership calculation, while viewership of American channels in Canada must be excluded,” Greenberg said.

The CRTC rejected the first application because the earlier yardstick would have left the Bell/Astral combo controlling 42.7%  of the English language market.

That exceeded a 35% threshold allowed under CRTC rules.

Greenberg also said the second application would include a “large” tangible benefits package to support Canadian content.

“This includes investing in and promotion of home-grown talent which will directly benefit Canadian consumers and content creators,” he told shareholders.