Corus Entertainment is poised to complete its move to acquire Shaw Media after it received the green light from Canada’s broadcast regulator on it $2.65 billion bid for Calgary-based Internet and mass media communications company.
Under the terms of the negotiations, Corus is acquiring the Global Television network and 19 speciality channels from Shaw Communications Ltd. This considerably bolsters the position of the Toronto-based Corus because the company will have 45 specialty services, 15 conventional channels, 39 radio stations, as well as a portfolio of growing digital assets.
Of course, in reality, all of that was all along under the control the Shaw family of Alberta.
In announcing its approval yesterday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said a change of ownership of Shaw “does not result in a change in effective control of either entity.”
The CRTC noted that since the Toronto-based Corus was founded back in 1999, Shaw and Corus have been “effectively controlled by the same person, Mr. JR Shaw.” The regulator said while both companies operated under separate management teams and had distinct boards of directors, control of both firms “effectively rested with the same person from a regulatory purpose.”
“As a result, consistent with the Commission’s long-standing policies, no tangible benefits will be required for this transaction, nor will any new broadcasting licences be issued for any of the services that are transferred,” a statement from the CRTC said.
The deal essentially places the control of 70 per cent of Canada’s English TV viewing market under Corus and Bell Media, says the Canadian Media Production Association. The CMPA represents 350 companies that produce English-language TV content.
“There is already a massive imbalance in commercial bargaining power between these consolidated broadcasters and individual production companies, Reynolds Mastin, president and CEO of CMPA said in a recent interview with the Toronto Star.
The head of the CRTC, however, said that the regulator thoroughly reviewed the transaction and found it consistent with “long-standing policies.”
“This decision will help position Corus Entertainment Inc. as a stronger player in the market and help elevate more Canadian-made programming to new heights both here in Canada and around the world,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman and CEO of CRTC. “This helps support the entire audiovisual ecosystem in Canada. From a regulatory perspective, Corus and Shaw have always been considered as a single voice in the Canadian marketplace since the 1990’s. This decision changes nothing in that respect.”