Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cogeco to 'vigorously' oppose Astral court challenge in radio sale

Cogeco Inc. says it will "vigorously oppose" a court challenge by Astral Media Inc. aimed at overturning a CRTC decision that allows it to own three radio stations in the Montreal market. The challenge, announced by Astral on Tuesday, arises out of a decision by the CRTC to approve the sale of 11 Corus Entertainment Inc. stations in Quebec to Cogeco in a deal worth $80 million. Cogeco picked up two Montreal radio stations in the deal, expected to close Feb. 1, bringing its total in the market to three. In its approval, the CRTC relaxed a policy that restricts the number of similar broadcast outlets owned by the same company within a single market, saying Montreal's francophone market was unique from the rest of Canada. However, Astral Media says the CRTC decision penalizes other broadcasters who may have avoided buying certain radio stations in order to respect the existing policy and has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to overturn the decision. Meanwhile, it is seeking an injunction against the CRTC decision pending the case being heard.

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