Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Competitors weigh in on Bell's bid for Astral

Bell should be forced to sell Astral's Movie Network pay TV service if the CRTC is going to allow the $3.4-billion revised merger of the two companies to go ahead, Rogers Communications Inc. said Tuesday.
And, the cable, wireless and Internet giant told the CRTC hearing reviewing the deal, if it were for sale Rogers would consider buying Astral's Movie Network for itself to add it to its own services.
Rogers said it expects Bell will impose financial terms to make it more difficult to get the English-language pay TV service's movies and programs and ultimately make it more expensive for consumers.
"These are premium services that hold the multi platform rights to 'must have' feature films and HBO series," said Ken Engelhart, vice-president of regulatory at Rogers (TSX:RCI.B).
"They are the jewels in the Astral crown. We think it would be unwise to allow these services to be acquired by Bell Media."
The CRTC turned down Bell's purchase of Astral Media last fall, saying it wasn't in the best interests of Canadians and would have made Bell too powerful, especially in the TV market.

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