Astral buys into Radiomutuel

MONTREAL — Astral Communications of Montreal has paid C$17.4 million ($12.6 million) to acquire a 25% stake in Radiomutuel, a Quebec broadcaster that owns several specialty TV services and 11 radio stations.

Astral announced Thursday that it has purchased 1.5 million class-A shares of Radiomutuel at a price of $8.54 per share, and it has signed a standstill agreement with Radiomutuel to limit its investment to 25% of Radiomutuel.

Radiomutuel owns 50% of the French-lingo rock-video web MusiquePlus and 50% of MusiMax, an adult-contemporary video network set to begin operating this fall.

Radiomutuel also owns Canal Vie, a lifestyle channel that will be on the air in September.

“It fits perfectly with our strategy for the future,” said Astral president and CEO Ian Greenberg. “It’s a field that we feel we have expertise in and, in the short-term, there’s going to be a capacity problem. So in order to have new services, this was one way to become involved in more specialty services.”

Astral is Canada’s leading player in the pay and specialty biz with 12 licenses, including the movie webs TMN, Moviepix and Super Ecran.

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