Bell Canada, the country's largest communications company, and Astral Media, one of Canada's leading media players, are close to the formulation of a new deal for Bell's friendly acquisition of Astral, in response to the rejection of their earlier plan by the country's broadcast regulator, the Globe and Mail reported yesterday.
Citing sources familiar with the talks, the Globe and Mail said that the two companies have been working on a deal that would satisfy the regulatory requirements. The plan could involve a possible auction to sell some of the properties to rivals, subject to the approval of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), it said.
According to the paper, the negotiations are in an advance stage and a deal could be out soon.
It is not clear which Astral assets are up for the sale under the new plan, but one source believes the bulk of the properties will be English-language broadcast assets, the paper said.
In response to the media reports, Astral Media confirmed in a statement yesterday that it is in discussions with Bell to continue pursuing regulatory approvals for Bell's acquisition of Astral, including, among other options, the filing of an application with the CRTC.
Last month, Bell had extended the agreement date to 16 December.