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Baton picks up CTV web

TORONTO — The CTV Television Network, one of Canada’s two national webs, has fallen under the control of Baton Broadcasting Inc. as part of an asset swap with Chum Ltd., the owner of independent Toronto station CITY-TV.

Under the terms of the deal, Baton will pay Chum C$10 million ($7.3 million) for its 14.3% stake of CTV, which Chum holds through CTV affilis in Canada’s Atlantic provinces.

Assuming the deal is approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Baton then will own 57% of CTV. The next largest shareholder, Western International Communications Ltd. (WIC) of Vancouver owns 28.6% and Moffat Communications Ltd. of Winnipeg 14.3%.

Baton will swap Ontario stations in London, Wingham and Windsor, which it owns with Electrohome Ltd. of Kitchener, as well as its Pembroke station, in exchange for Chum stations in Halifax, Sydney, Moncton and Saint John — collectively known as ATV.

That will extend Baton’s audience reach to about 84% of Canada’s English-speaking population from roughly 76%, putting it in the same league as rivals CanWest Global Communications Corp. of Winnipeg and WIC, which owns CTV affiliates in Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal.

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