Bell Globemedia absorbs CHUM media chain

[via Toronto Star]

Bell Globemedia Inc. has succeeded in its proposed $1.7-billion takeover of CHUM Ltd., the companies announced late Thursday.

Bell Globemedia — the company that owns CTV Inc., 21 conventional TV stations and 17 specialty TV channels — has said it will sell the A-channel and Access television stations it will acquire by buying CHUM, but keep CHUM's five Citytv-branded stations, specialty TV channels and radio stations.

Almost all of CHUM's voting shares, about 6.7 million shares, were tendered to the offer, in addition to 19.2 million of CHUM's non-voting shares, the companies said.

In addition, Bell received notices of guaranteed delivery for tenders of 750,000 additional shares. Together with the non-voting shares tendered, that represents more than 93 per cent of CHUM non-voting stock, they said.

Bell Globemedia said it will instruct the depositary for the offer to take up the shares, and payment will be made "as soon as practicable."

Bell has also extended the offer to allow any other CHUM shareholders who didn't tender to the offer to be able to do so by Sept. 12.

However, enough shares have been tendered to allow Bell Globemedia to acquire the remaining shares under the Business Corporations Act. Bell said it will do so once its offer expires.

Bell Globemedia is offering $47.25 per share bid for CHUM'S non-voting stock and $52.50 per share for the voting stock.

The estate of CHUM founder Allan Waters, who died in December, owns 88.6 per cent of the voting stock and 13.2 per cent of the non-voting shares. The Waters family had promised to tender to the offer.

BCE Inc. (TSX: BCE) recently announced it had received all regulatory approvals to reduce its stake in Bell Globemedia to 20 per cent from 68.5 per cent.

The deal, announced last December, gives Torstar Corp. (TSX: TS.B) and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan a 20 per cent stake in Bell Globemedia and increases the Thomson family's Woodbridge Co. stake in the company to 40 per cent from 31.5 per cent.

BCE said it received $1.3 billion from the deal, including $685 million for selling the Bell Globemedia shares and $607 million as a return of capital stemming from Bell Globemedia's recapitalization in January.

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