Canada: Bell to acquire CTV

Canadian telco BCE Inc. (Bell) has confirmed plans to acquire 100 per cent of CTV, the Canadian leader in speciality television, digital media, conventional TV and radio broadcasting. Bell says the transaction gives it full ownership of Canada’s best media assets to enhance the growth of Bell’s TV, wireless and online services for years to come.

Bell currently owns a 15 per cent equity position in CTV and will acquire the remaining 85 per cent for $1.3 billion in equity value from The Woodbridge Company Limited, the Toronto-based holding company of the Thomson family; Ontario Teachers Pension Plan; and Torstar Corporation. Including the value of Bell’s present stake, the transaction has an equity value of $1.5 billion. Together with $1.7 billion in proportionate debt, the total transaction value is $3.2 billion. In a separate transaction, Woodbridge will

acquire ownership of the Globe and Mail, in which Bell will continue to retain a 15 per cent equity position.

“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. 100 per cent ownership of CTV enables Bell to maximise strategic and operating synergies with CTV, including the efficiency of our content and advertising spend,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. “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.”

Ivan Fecan, CEO of CTV, said that in today’s digital age, it was extremely important to be part of a vertically integrated company that could take advantage of video delivered on multiple screens. “CTV has emerged stronger than ever from the recession, and is now perfectly positioned to take advantage of an improving economy. This is the right deal at the right time,” he added.

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