CRTC to rule today on Bell's proposed $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media

GATINEAU, Que. – Bell (TSX:BCE) will find out today if its second attempt at buying Astral Media (TSX:ACM.A) has the go-ahead from the federal broadcast regulator.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says it will announce its decision at 4 p.m., after markets close.

The CRTC shot down Bell’s initial, $3.4-billion bid for Astral last fall, saying it wasn’t in the best interests of Canadians.

Bell has since offered to sell some of Astral’s specialty TV channels and radio stations to satisfy CRTC concerns that it would be too dominant in the market.

But Bell has said it will drop its offer if forced by the CRTC to sell more of Astral’s assets such as The Movie Network, because that would cripple attempts to compete with services like Netflix.

Bell has also said it would walk away from the deal if the CRTC forces it to sell more of Astral’s French specialty TV channels because it wants to bring more competition to Quebec.