Corus-Shaw deal gets watchdog okay

The merger of Canadian broadcast and telecoms groups Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications has been given regulatory clearance.

As both companies are effectively controlled by J.R. Shaw, despite operating separately, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has given the merger process the go-ahead.

The new-look company would not “result in a change in effective control of either entity”, the watchdog said in a statement.

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

The CTRC said that Corus, which has international production and distribution assets, would emerge as a “stronger player with enhanced scale that can offer better services and higher-quality programming”. This was “consistent” with the new rules the CRTC decided upon in its industry-wide Let’s Talk TV consultation earlier this month, the regulator said.

Corus revealed plans to pay C$2.65 billion for Shaw, which is a more locally-focused broadcast and telecoms group, in January.

This was described at the time as “game-changing” deal in the Canadian media market, and came after Corus rival Bell Media bought Astral Media and DHX Media acquired Bells’ kids and family channels to emerge as a broadcast player.

Once completed later this year, Corus will own 45 speciality TV channels, 39 radio channels, content studio Nelvana and 15 “conventional” TV networks. It will own and operate the Global Television channel, which is popular with mainstream audiences.

Corus was initially spun out of Shaw’s media assets in 1999. The Shaw family still controls both, but was barred on voting on the agreement through.

With the CRTC onside, the deal now needs shareholder approval.

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