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$2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw by Corus gets CRTC approval

$2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw by Corus gets CRTC approval 

With the required regulatory and other approvals obtained, the company plans to close the transaction on April 1, 2016.

“We are very pleased with the CRTC’s decision to approve the acquisition of Shaw Media by Corus Entertainment,” said Doug Murphy, president and chief executive officer, Corus Entertainment. “This marks the final milestone in the approval process for this transformational acquisition. We will now begin the important integration work to bring together our winning combination of brands, assets and talent that will become the new Corus.”

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 will remain under the control of the Shaw family of Alberta.

In announcing its approval yesterday, the 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.”

Since Corus Entertainment Inc. was founded in 1999, Shaw Media Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. have been effectively controlled by the same person, Mr. JR Shaw. Since that time, although they have operated under separate management teams and are overseen by distinct boards of directors, control over both entities has effectively rested with the same person from a regulatory perspective.

“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. “From a regulatory perspective, Shaw and Corus have always been treated as “one voiceˮ under the CRTC’s Diversity of Voices policy.”

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.”

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