BCE, Astral delay closing date on proposed deal

TORONTO Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:21pm EDT

TORONTO Oct 25 (Reuters) - Astral Media Inc said on Thursday that its suitor BCE Inc has opted to delay the closing date of its planned takeover of Astral as it works to overturn a recent regulatory ruling that has reduced the likelihood of the deal being consummated.

Last week, Canada's broadcast regulator blocked BCE's C$3 billion (US$3.02 billion) bid for Astral, declaring the deal would give too much power to BCE, which is already the country's leading telecoms company and owner of numerous TV and radio assets.

The ruling issued by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal. BCE has also asked the federal government to intervene and issue directions to the broadcast regulator to overturn the ruling.

Astral said the closing date for the transaction is now Dec. 16. BCE and Astral have the right to further postpone the outside date by an additional 30 days to Jan 15, 2013.

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