Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Pat Romanski, Aria Blog, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Jnan Dash

News Feed Item

Astral and Bell submit new proposal for CRTC approval

  • Updated application for transaction approval addresses CRTC concerns, including viewership share criteria and improved tangible benefits package
  • Astral joining Bell Media will deliver more choice for consumers, more investment in radio and TV, more opportunities for creators, and more competition in Canadian broadcasting
  • Québec content development to be led by the Montréal-based Astral team
  • The companies amend their March Agreement, including extension to June 1, 2013
  • Astral shareholders to receive a dividend of $0.50 per share
  • Learn more about Astral-Bell at CanadiansDeserveMore.ca

MONTREAL, Nov. 19, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral Media Inc. (Astral) and BCE Inc. (Bell) today announced that they have amended their Arrangement Agreement and submitted a new proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for approval of Bell's acquisition of Montréal-based Astral. Bell also announced that it has formally withdrawn its request to the federal Cabinet for a policy direction to the CRTC.

"We heard Canadians and the CRTC loud and clear - they want assurance that Astral joining with Bell Media will directly benefit consumers and creators. We're ready to deliver more choice for listeners and viewers, more opportunity for content creators, and more competition for the broadcasting industry," said George Cope, Bell's President and CEO. "Bell and Astral are happy to move forward with a new proposal that benefits all Canadians, in both official languages, in communities large and small across the nation, with new ideas, new funding and new choices."

"The Canadian broadcasting industry is undergoing rapid change, and Astral and Bell are committed to making sure that the consumer always comes first," said Ian Greenberg, President and CEO of Astral Media. "Considering the rapidly changing media landscape, including the accelerating impact of foreign broadcasters on the Canadian media scene, constant investment and innovation is required to develop and showcase the best content and to ensure TV viewers and radio listeners are entertained and informed in the ways that they want. Together, Astral and Bell Media have the scale to invest, compete and deliver on the opportunities ahead for all Canadians."

Originally announced in March 2012, the plan for Astral to join with Bell Media was subsequently approved by more than 99% of Astral shareholders and the Québec Superior Court, and is supported by a range of independent producers, advertisers, media companies, and community and arts groups across Canada.

As a result of the amendments made to the terms of the original Arrangement Agreement between Astral and Bell, the outside date for the closing of the transaction has been extended to June 1, 2013 with each of Astral and Bell having a further right to postpone it to July 31, 2013. Bell's regulatory covenants have been modified and Astral's board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share on its class A non-voting shares and class B subordinate voting shares, payable on February 1, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on January 15, 2013. The consideration payable to Astral shareholders remains unchanged under the Amended Agreement. Holders of class A non-voting shares and class B subordinate voting shares of Astral will receive cash or a combination of cash and up to $750 million of BCE common shares, representing a value of $50.00 and $54.83 per share, respectively. Valued at $3.38 billion, the transaction must be approved by the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.

As previously announced, French-language TV and radio assets would be led by the Astral team headquartered in Montréal, and Jacques Parisien, currently Astral's Executive Vice President and COO, will join the Bell Media leadership team managing a broad portfolio of assets across the country. Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg would join the BCE Board of Directors following the closing of the transaction.

On October 18, the CRTC rejected the original submission by Astral and Bell for approval of the transaction. In that decision, the CRTC outlined the public interest concerns to be addressed and clarified its approach to calculating viewership thresholds when assessing transactions of this nature. As a result, viewership of media properties jointly owned with other companies must be included in the calculation, while viewership of U.S. channels available in Canada must be excluded.

The new proposal to the CRTC by Astral and Bell addresses the commission's concerns and sets out the steps the companies would take to comply with the relevant viewership thresholds. The proposal also includes a revised package of tangible benefits to support the creation of exceptional Canadian TV and radio content, promote homegrown talent in a multi-platform universe, and foster consumer engagement in the broadcasting system. In addition, given passionate listener response to Bell's earlier proposal regarding TSN Radio 690 (CKGM), Bell has asked for an exception to the CRTC's Radio Common Ownership Policy to enable the Montréal station to continue to operate as an English-language sports talk radio channel.

Details of the new Astral-Bell proposal will be made available by the CRTC when it launches its public consultation on the application. A copy of the amending agreement and a material change report, providing more details on the transaction, will be filed by Astral with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and will be available at www.sedar.com.

To learn more about how Astral joining with Bell Media will benefit Canadians, please visit CanadiansDeserveMore.ca. Twitter: @MoreForCanada.

About Astral
Founded in 1961, Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.A/ACM.B) is one of Canada's largest media companies. It operates several media properties - pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital - that are among the most popular in the country. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich, and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers alike. To learn more about Astral, please visit Astral.com.

About Bell
Headquartered in Montréal since its founding in 1880, Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. Bell is wholly owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more information, please visit Bell.ca.

Bell is committed to promoting Canadian mental health through the Bell Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign and unprecedented financial support for community care, research and workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this news release, including, but not limited to, statements relating to the proposed acquisition by BCE Inc. of Astral Media Inc. and other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking. Forward-looking statements, by their very nature, are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions which give rise to the possibility that actual results or events could differ materially from our expectations expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will materialize and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements contained in this news release describe BCE's and Astral's expectations at the date of this news release and, accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Except as may be required by Canadian securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this news release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are provided herein for the purpose of giving information about the proposed transaction referred to above and its expected impact. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The completion of the above-mentioned proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, regulatory approvals, including approval by the CRTC and the Competition Bureau. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the terms and conditions currently contemplated by the parties. The proposed transaction could be modified, restructured or terminated. For additional information with respect to certain of these and other assumptions and risks, please refer to BCE's and Astral's MD&As filed in 2012 with the Canadian securities commissions (available at www.sedar.com) and, in the case of BCE, also filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (available at www.sec.gov). These documents are also available on BCE's website at www.bce.ca and Astral's website at www.astral.com.

SOURCE BELL CANADA

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.