Bell’s main merger man


MONTREAL — Ivan Fecan is the Canuck TV biz’s ultimate dealmaker, a fact underlined once again this summer when the company he runs, Bell Globemedia, inked a blockbuster deal to acquire rival broadcaster Chum for $1.5 billion.

Bell Globemedia already owns the leading CTV Network, and with the acquisition of Chum, it increased its reach big time in the Great White North.

Fecan, prexy and CEO of Bell Globemedia, has been at the center of some of the biggest changes in Canadian TV since he took the top job at Toronto-based Baton Broadcasting back in 1996.

At the time, Baton owned stations in Ontario and Saskatchewan and a minority interest in CTV.

Over the next four years, Fecan led Baton’s takeover of CTV and then turned the loose association of affiliate stations into a national network. Over the past few years, CTV has soared to the top of the ratings heap in Canada, dominating the primetime battle and routinely showing 15 or more of the top 20 shows in Canada.

“When we have 18 of the top 20 shows, he (Fecan) wants 21,” says Susanne Boyce, CTV prexy of programming. “He’s an extremely hard worker and visionary. He’s always four steps ahead.”

Fecan also realized early on that CTV had to be in the niche TV business as well and helped the company become one of the country’s top players by buying Netstar Communications in 1999, picking up the top-rated Canuck sports networks TSN and RDS.

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