Canada's largest telecommunications company has received regulatory approval to buy the nation's largest private broadcaster. The $1.57bn deal caps a merger, announced in September, that brings together BCE, Canada's major telephone company and internet service provider; Thomson Corporation, the major electronic information company and publisher of the national newspaper The Globe and Mail; and CTV, the largest television broadcaster, to create a $2.7bn communications force.
Under the terms of the approval granted by telecom and broadcast regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the new company must invest 10% of the deal value into Canadian broadcasting over the next seven years. Of that $157m, $95m must be devoted to the development and production of programmes such as dramas and documentaries, of which 95% must be commissioned from independent producers.
Contrary to expectation, the CRTC did not require that the new entity sell off some of CTV's cable specialty channels.