CanWest Global Communications and Electrohome Broadcasting, both shareholders in Canada's biggest broadcaster CTV, are resisting telco BCE's proposed $2.3bn takeover of the company.
CanWest, Canada's second-largest private broadcaster which holds nearly 10% of CTV and Electrohome, which holds 12.1%, have both indicated they would prefer a stock swap over BCE's proposed all-cash offer because of the tax liability a cash deal presents.
BCE, the parent company of Bell Canada and high-tech powerhouse Nortel, offered $38 per share for CTV on Feb 25. The move is a counterpunch to the recent manoeuvres of its rival on the Internet landscape, cableco Rogers Communications, which acquired broadband cable Groupe Videotron last month.
If the deal goes through it would be the world's first such ownership of a major broadcaster by a telco.
Analysts dismissed a counterbid as unlikely given BCE's power on the Canadian scene; the company has $8bn in cash thanks to its planned spinoff of Nortel and last year's sale of a 20% stake to US telco Ameritech. Foreign companies are barred from majority ownership of Canadian broadcast and telecommunications operations.
BCE has offered a glimpse of its shopping list, including $2.3bn for CTV, $1bn to expand its high-speed Internet access services in Eastern Canada and wireless service in Western Canada and $1.5bn for two e-commerce units.