Bell Canada's Astral Media acquisition gets green light from shareholders

Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) has cleared another hurdle in its effort to acquire Astral Media, as that company's shareholders approved the deal at a meeting held this week in Montreal.

Astral shareholders were asked to vote for special resolution to approve the acquisition of all shares the company issued and outstanding by Bell per the agreement it entered into with the telco in mid-March this year.

Over 99 percent of the votes were cast by holders of Class A non-voting shares, 99.95 percent of the votes were cast by holders of Class B subordinate voting shares, and 100 percent of the votes were cast by holders of special shares of Astral.

As Bell ramps up its video offerings to more effectively compete with cable across its wireline and wireless platforms, it is bolstering its content holdings via acquisitions of other content companies. By purchasing Astral, it gains a suite of new television, radio, websites, and out-of-home advertising signage.  

"We are very pleased that Astral shareholders have overwhelmingly decided to support Bell's acquisition, which brings together two of the strongest brands in Québec to deliver the best content to customers with innovative new broadband services like Fibe TV and Bell Mobile TV," said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.

Having access to Astral's content will enable the service provider to extend an even greater set of content, particularly French language content, to its growing base of its Fiber to the X-based Fibe IPTV and broadband service.

Bell expects to complete the deal in second half of 2012 after it clears necessary court and regulatory approvals.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Bell Canada acquires Astral for $3.4B, enhances growing media empire
Canada takes cautious approach to increasing foreign telecom ownership
Bell Canada's broadband and IPTV service gains offset Q1 wireline voice losses
The 15 highest-paid CEOs in wireline