Canadian regulator slaps on provisos

MONTREAL — Canada’s media regulator approved telco Bell Canada’s $1.3 billion acquisition of leading broadcast group CTVglobemedia on Monday — with some provisos.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled that Bell can’t seal exclusive deals for content for its mobile services that would make it impossible for competitors to buy the same content for similar services.

This moratorium will be in effect until the end of CRTC hearings later this year on vertical integration.

The concern that one of the largest players in broadcast distribution, wireless phones and Internet service was taking over one of the top broadcasters was raised during earlier hearings discussing the deal.

Bell must also invest in the local TV biz and has pledged to spend $252 million via CTV over the next seven years.

Bell said CRTC approval means it is on track to close the acquisition in the second quarter, earlier than expected.

With the deal, Bell picks up the CTV network and a slew of cable channels, including Discovery Channel (Canada), MTV Canada, The Sports Network, MuchMusic and the Reseau des Sports.

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