Rivals campaigning to stop Bell Media's Astral takeover

A public campaign has been launched by rivals of Bell Media owner BCE over the takeover of Astral Media.

Quebecor, Eastlink and Cogeco Cable said in a statement that if the deal goes ahead Bell would control all of the popular Canadian TV content and be able “to charge consumers any price they want to watch it”.

They also say that consumers may be forced into paying for Bell channels they don’t want to watch.

“Bell Canada’s proposed merger with Astral Media Inc poses a serious threat to the health of the Canadian broadcasting industry,” said Quebecor president Pierre Karl Peladeau.

“Competition will be severely reduced and the broadcast market as we know it in Canada will be handcuffed.”
Eastlink chief executive Lee Bragg said: “Few of the world’s major economies permit a single private broadcaster to acquire such a dominant share of TV viewing”.

“Bell Canada’s TV audience share would be 50 per cent greater than the audience share of the largest private firms in the USA, Japan, UK, Australia, France or even Russia.

The $U3.38 billion deal, announced in March this year, still requires regulatory approval.

Source: yahoo.com

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