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Cogeco Cable Inc. president and CEO Louis Audet (J.P. Moczulski)
Cogeco Cable Inc. president and CEO Louis Audet (J.P. Moczulski)

Corus unloads Quebec stations Add to ...

One of the largest players in Canadian radio is pulling out of Quebec. Corus Entertainment Inc. Announced this morning that it has agreed to sell its stations there to cable operator Cogeco Inc.

Cogeco will pay $80-million in cash for the 11 stations. The company already owns five radio stations in the province.

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Cogeco's president and chief executive officer Louis Audet said in a statement that the company wants to expand its reach, and believes the stations are attractive to advertisers because of their local content.

"The Corus radio stations are a natural fit with Cogeco's existing radio stations," Mr. Audet said.

Corus owns 50 radio stations across Canada, 12 of which are in Quebec.

Corus and Astral, the two largest owners of radio stations in Canada, recently reported earnings showing results in radio that were roughly flat compared to last year. Rogers, which also owns radio stations, saw similar results, and on a conference call this week, executives said radio has a long recovery ahead.

Corus President and CEO John Cassaday said the company hopes to focus on its specialty television assets - specialty TV has shown to be highly profitable, even in the downturn, with Corus' W Network pulling in profit before interest and taxes of more than $40 million last year - and radio stations in Ontario and Western Canada.

The deal will require CRTC approval. Mr. Cassaday said the approval process would likely be concluded late this year.

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