UPDATE 1-Astral Media earnings, revenue rise

Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:37pm EDT

* Q4 EPS C$0.55 vs C$0.53 year earlier

* Revenue up 1.7 percent at C$251.8 million

* Shares fall 1.3 percent (Adds background on BCE deal, details on operating results, share price)

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Astral Media Inc reported a higher quarterly profit on Wednesday as revenue rose across its business segments.

Revenue from Astral's radio, television and outdoor advertising divisions rose, and operating expenses fell 2.5 percent.

BCE Inc, Bell Canada's parent, agreed in March to buy Astral, its largest content provider. But Canada's broadcast regulator blocked the C$3 billion bid earlier this month.

BCE had offered investors C$50 a share, a premium of nearly 40 percent to the stock's close the day before the deal was announced.

On Wednesday afternoon, Astral shares were down 1.3 percent at C$41.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Last week, Astral said BCE had opted to delay the deal's closing as it works to overturn the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission's ruling.

The ruling can be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal, and BCE has also asked the federal government to intervene and direct the regulator to overturn the ruling. The government has said it cannot overturn a decision from the regulator.

Astral said net income for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Aug. 31 rose to C$31.4 million, or 55 Canadian cents a share, from C$29.8 million, or 53 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Excluding the costs associated with the BCE deal and other items, consolidated net earnings rose to C$54.3 million, or 96 Canadian cents a share, from C$47.7 million, or 85 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Consolidated revenue rose 1.7 percent to C$251.8 million. (Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Janet Guttsman and Matthew Lewis)

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