Biz Briefs

Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications, Canada’s two largest cable companies, announced Thursday a series of deals that include an asset swap and a series of Internet alliances that cluster Rogers’ holdings in Eastern Canada and Shaw’s in Western Canada.

Subject to regulatory approval, the cablers agreed to exchange Rogers’ cable operations in British Columbia for Shaw’s operations in Southern Ontario and New Brunswick. Shaw has agreed to sell its 9.1% interest in Cogeco Cable and its 9.6% interest in Cogego Inc. for C$44 ($30) per share; in exchange, Rogers will sell its 4 million shares of Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. to Shaw for $15.97 per share.

In addition, the two are merging their Internet operations to form Excite@Canada, a single national broadband and narrowband portal. Rogers will have a 51% stake in Excite@Canada, with Shaw and U.S. Internet content and access company Excite@Home each owning 22.5%. Canadian cablers Cogeco and Moffat Communications will also be invited to become partners in the new venture.

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Hearst-Argyle Television has made a $25 million equity investment in Consumer Financial Network, an online provider of consumer financial information and services. As part of the strategic alliance, CFN will provide content for and advertise on Hearst-Argyle’s television stations and local Web sites. Hearst-Argyle, CFN’s first media partner, owns or manages 26 TV stations and seven radio stations.

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