BCE CEO George Cope (left) with Astral Media CEO Ian Greenberg. Astral Media (TSX:ACM.A) this morning reported its fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 results. For the year, the company earned $173.3-million on revenue of $1.02-billion, up 1% over fiscal 2011.
At press time shares of Astral were down .9% to $41.46.
Though the most notable event of the quarter was clearly the CRTC thwarted takeover of Astral by rival BCE, CEO Ian Greenberg highlighted the bigger picture.
“I am very pleased with the solid performance delivered by our business units in Fiscal 2012, particularly with the strong finish in the fourth quarter, consolidating the Company’s 16th consecutive year of profitable growth,” said Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We remain fully committed to maintain the same financial discipline that allowed the Company to grow in Fiscal 2012 and to continue to invest in content and new products in order to offer the highest possible quality of products and services.”
Quebec-based Astral Media operates 84 radio stations and 20 pay and specialty television channels in both official languages.
Earlier this year, BCE said it had struck a $3.38 billion deal to acquire Astral. In May, the proposal received 99.84% approval from Astral’s shareholders across all share classes, management said.
The proposed acquisition, which was approved by the Quebec Superior Court, was expected to be completed in the second half of this year.
On October 18th, however, the CTC denied BCE’s application to acquire control of Astral explaining that it would not be in the public interest.
After the decision, BELL lashed out at the CRTC, saying it was “appalled that the CRTC would come to a decision that so negatively impacts Canadian consumers and the national broadcast industry”.
The company went on to say that the decision contravenes the CRTC’s own policy and is “tainted by behind-the-scenes lobbying” by Bell’s cable rivals.
BCE was looking for intervention from the Canadian government, but yesterday Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis said he had no plans to act on the matter.
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