BCE to buy Astral Media
BCE has entered into an agreement to purchase Astral Media for approximately $3.38 billion. The deal includes all of Astral's pay and specialty television channels, radio stations, digital media properties and out-of-home advertising activities. The transaction, which includes net debt of $380 million, will be funded with a combination of 75% cash and 25% BCE common equity. Bell will acquire all Class A Non-Voting Shares of Astral for $50 per share, and all Class B Subordinate Voting Shares for $54.83 per share, for a total of approximately $151 million, and all Special Shares for a total consideration of $50 million. The board of directors of Astral has unanimously approved the transaction and recommended it to its shareholders, who will vote on the deal by May 25. The agreement also remains subject to regulatory approvals. "Bell welcomes Astral and its strong team of media professionals, who have built an outstanding national media business, especially in the competitive Quebec marketplace," said George Cope, president and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. "Ian Greenberg is a renowned champion of Canadian broadcasting and we look forward to welcoming him to our board of directors when the transaction closes. This transaction further accelerates Bell's strategy to deliver leading content like Astral's across our world-leading networks to all the broadband screens, TV, smartphone, tablet or computer, that our customers may choose."