A surprise decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected a $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media by BCE. Here, a look at the major players involved in the bid.
Jean-Pierre Blais In his first major decision as chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Mr. Blais proved he wasn’t afraid to flex the regulator’s muscle. He argued that “robust” competition in broadcasting simply would not have been possible with so much power in the hands of one media titan.
(Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)
George Cope The president and CEO of BCE Inc. was served his first major defeat since he took the helm four years ago, as the CRTC stuck a knife in what he said was a key digital strategy. Mr. Cope said BCE needed Astral to offer content that could compete with Netflix, but instead his company will have to cough up $150-million in fees to Astral for walking away from the deal.
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
Ian Greenberg It looked as if Astral Media Inc.’s founder and his family might waltz out door with $50-million for their special shares in the company, but in the end it didn’t happen. Astral’s strength in Quebec, as well as specialty offerings such as HBO Canada and The Movie Network, were enough to entice Bell to agree to a $3-billion deal in April. But thanks to the CRTC, Mr. Greenberg will maintain his ownership in the 51-year-old company.
Pierre Karl Peladeau Quebecor Inc.’s chief executive officer came out the big winner after seven months of campaigning to destroy his major competitor’s chance to acquire Astral. At one time, he said the proposed merger would create a “monster.” Mr. Péladeau had been an ever-present voice in the hearings and conversations leading up to the CRTC decision, saying that even if the regulator tried to impose restrictions, BCE would snake around them.
(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)