Bell Canada rekindles Astral buy out

It presents $3.4 billion deal to regulator

MONTREAL

Bell Canada has come up with a revamped deal to take over rival broadcaster Astral Media — but has not unveiled details.

Bell and Astral submitted the new deal to federal broadcast regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commssion for approval on Monday.

The CRTC rejected Bell’s original $3.4 billion offer to acquire Astral, one of the biggest media deals in Canadian history, saying it was not in the interest of consumers because it placed too much of the TV market in one company’s hands.

Insiders suggest the new arrangement will involve Bell selling off some, if not all, of Astral’s English-language TV channels and keeping the French-language channels.

Bell wants a greater foothold in the French-Canadian market, where it has little presence right now.

Trading on Astral Media shares halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday after rumors of the rekindled deal surfaced in the press.

The new deal has to be approved by the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.

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