CRTC approves Bell Canada's CTV acquisition with conditions

Bell Canada's (NYSE: BCE) dream of becoming an integrated telecom and entertainment provider came closer to reality as Canada's regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), approved its $1.34 acquisition of CTV.

Of course, the CRTC's decision comes with conditions.

First, the CRTC has mandated that Bell Canada has to invest $245 million in broadcasting to improve TV programming. Bell Canada countered with an offer of $221 million. In addition, the CRTC has barred Bell Canada from offering exclusive CTV content on either its wireless or online service until it completes a review later this year.

Bell Canada believes it will be able to close the deal in Q2. At that time, CTV and its Sympatico Web portal will become part of its new Bell Media business unit.

The service provider's purchase of a broadcaster comes as video continues to become a major revenue driver in its portfolio. While the service provider only added 23,019 in Q4 2010, TV revenues were up 7.9 percent to CAD 450 million (USD 454 million) during the quarter due to subscriber growth and customer upgrades to higher-priced programming packages. 

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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