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Bell to buy CTV

BCE has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of CTV for $1.3 billion in equity value. Bell will also assume $1.7 billion in debt. Bell currently owns 15% of CTV. "Acquiring CTV's range of premier video content enhances Bell's execution of our strategic imperatives by leveraging our significant broadband network investments, accelerating Bell's video growth across all three screens, mobile, online and TV, and achieving a competitive cost structure," said George Cope, president and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. "One hundred percent ownership of CTV enables Bell to maximize strategic and operating synergies with CTV, including the efficiency of our content and advertising spend. Our industry is changing rapidly. Increasing vertical integration across the communications landscape, ongoing technological advancement and key regulatory developments introduce new opportunities with the ownership of high-demand content by Bell. Our acquisition of CTV more than levels the playing field in our increasingly competitive industry." CTV operates a network of 27 television stations nationally, as well as 30 specialty channels, the 34 CHUM Radio stations and various online properties. The transaction, which remains subject to approvals from the CRTC and the Competition Bureau, is expected by mid-2011. In a separate transaction, Toronto-based holding company The Woodbridge Company will acquire ownership of the Globe and Mail. Bell will continue to hold 15% of the newspaper.

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