In its efforts to acquire Montréal-based Astral Media Inc. and its specialty and pay-TV channels, radio stations, digital media properties and out-of-home advertising platforms in Québec and across the rest of Canada, BCE Inc. (Bell) is purchasing Astral’s issued and outstanding shares for some $2.8 billion.

"Bringing together two respected and longstanding Montréal brands, Bell’s acquisition of Astral firmly establishes our company as Québec’s media leader. Bell is gaining a well-seasoned national Astral management team, dramatically expanding our French-language content, and more than leveling the playing field with our largest broadcast media competitor in Québec,” comments George Cope, resident and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.

He adds, "Astral’s strong financial position enables Bell to further accelerate our significant investment in broadband innovation across Québec, such as our launch this month of ultra high-speed Fibe service directly to homes and businesses across Québec City, and our rollout of next-generation mobile LTE. With our advanced networks and next-generation mobile TV and Fibe TV services, Bell looks forward to delivering Astral’s unbeatable content to customers in new and innovative ways."

The Astral team will join the Bell Media business unit, which was formed in April 2011 following Bell’s acquisition of CTV, Canada’s largest media company.

Astral’s board already has approved the deal, and Astral shareholders will vote on it by May 25.

(Editor’s note: CT Reports will be coming to you live from the SCTE Canadian 2012 Summit in Toronto next week. If you are planning to attend this event, please call Debra Baker at 301/905-7703 or email her at dbaker@accessintel.com. She’d love to meet with you!)

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