Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24 weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Acrobats perform during Cirque du Soleil's show "Alegria" in Tel Aviv Aug. 8, 2012.

NIR ELIAS/Reuters

Send in the clowns – BCE Inc. is turning to the circus to help win support for its controversial $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media.

The company's Bell Media division said Tuesday it will invest $15-million to form a television and movie production company with Quebec's world famous Cirque du Soleil – but added it would "revisit" the partnership if its $3.4-billion deal for Astral Media fell through.

The Montreal-based company said the joint venture would create television productions based on the Cirque's unique performances, and distribute the content the company has already created including an upcoming 3D production called Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.

Story continues below advertisement

Bell Media and its parent company BCE are in the midst of the Astral takeover, a deal critics warn would place too much content in the hands of one Canadian company. They worry Bell will charge other cable companies to much money to access its programming, which will ultimately mean higher bills for their customers.

The deal goes before regulators next month, and will also be scrutinized by the country's Competition Bureau.

Bell said Tuesday that the Cirque deal is an example of the types of initiatives it will undertake once it owns Astral. It has also promised to spend $80-million in the coming years to develop content for the Quebec market.

It didn't say how much the Cirque partnership would cost, calling it a "multimillion-investment."

"Supporting the creation of new Quebec-based media jobs and linked to Bell's pending acquisition of Astral Media, the joint venture is another extension of Bell's strategy of investment and development of Quebec content," the company said in a statement.

Bell used the announcement as an opportunity to build support for its pending acquisition. The press release quotes Cirque chief executive officer Daniel Lamarre voicing his enthusiasm for the controversial takeover.

"Cirque du Soleil has always put creative forces from Quebec in the forefront. Like Bell joining with Astral, this commitment to invest in Quebec content and job creation benefits not only consumers but the broader Québec creative and media industry as well."

Story continues below advertisement

On Tuesday, a group comprised of activists organizations from across the country launched a campaign called Stopthetakeover.ca is asking Canadians to send a letter to the country's Industry Minster and Competition Bureau voicing their opposition to deal.

The group argues Bell will use its size to dominate smaller rivals, charging them high rates for programming that will eventually be passed to consumers.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies