CRTC announces hearing for Bell's purchase of CTV

The CRTC published BCE’s application to acquire CTV today.

The deadline for comments is Tuesday, January 11th (32 days from the date the application was published).

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8th.

In terms of fair process, note that the January 11 deadline for interventions is in addition to
- the January 6 deadline for the CRTC’s call for comments on reducing Canadian content from 60% to 55% in over-the-air TV, and
- the January 11 deadline for the CRTC’s call for comments on requiring broadcasters to advertise the coming analog-to-digital transition.

Since the CRTC does not allow any other applicants to apply for the right to use the licences now held by CTV – to ensure that the best possible use is made of this still-scarce-and-still-valuable permits to use the broadcast spectrum owned by Canadians – it requires prospective purchasers to allocate 10% of the value of TV assets, and 6% of the value of radio assets, towards ‘tangible benefits’.

Here is the Commission’s description of BCE’s perspective on the tangible benefits issue:

The applicant submitted that the total value of the transaction is $3.2 billion including an equity value of $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion in proportionate debt. The applicant also stated that the total value (100%) of the broadcasting assets is approximately $2.9 billion.

BCE is of the view that no tangible benefits are required in the circumstances. However, in the event the Commission were to require such benefits, BCE has on 5 November 2010 proposed a tangible benefits package in the amount of $70.3 million and by letter dated 3 December 2010 increased that tangible benefits package to $220.8 million.