Canada’s Chum buddies up to Craig

CRTC approved buyout required sale of Toronto 1

MONTREAL — Two related media deals were finalized Thursday in Canada, with Toronto-based Chum completing its C$265 million ($220 million) acquisition of Craig Media and the TVA Group buying TV station Toronto 1 for $36 million.

Federal regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission greenlit Chum’s buyout of Calgary-based Craig but insisted that Chum sell Craig’s Toronto 1. Chum is already dominant in the Toronto TV market thanks to City-TV.

Chum now owns all of Craig’s assets, including the three A-Channel stations in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg; a CBC affiliate in Brandon, Manitoba; digital specialty channels MTV Canada, MTV2 Canada and TV Land; and Toronto 1.

To finance the purchase, Chum has refinanced with a syndicate of lenders, led by the Royal Bank of Canada and the Toronto-Dominion Bank.

At the same time, Montreal-based TVA Group and Toronto-based Sun Media, both subsidiaries of Quebecor, acquired Toronto 1. TVA paid $26 million in cash for its 75% interest, while Sun Media acquired its 25% stake by paying $2.2 million in cash and transferring to Chum its 29.9% interest in CP24, a 24-hour all-news station based in Toronto.

Move reps a major expansion into English Canada for TVA, which is Quebec’s leading French-language broadcaster.

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