CRTC preps CTV-Chum ruling

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TORONTO -- Canada's TV regulator is expected to make its long-awaited decision Friday on whether or not domestic media giant CTVglobemedia's CAN$1.4 billion ($1.33 billion) takeover of broadcaster Chum Ltd. may proceed.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's ruling is expected to hinge on whether CTVglobemedia will be allowed to hold onto Chum's Citytv free-to-air TV stations in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnepeg.

The CRTC could order CTVglobemedia to sell off the Citytv stations if it believes that holding onto them would give the media giant a stranglehold on the Canadian TV advertising market.

In its application to the CRTC for regulatory approval, CTVglobemedia proposed spinning off Chum's A-Channel-branded over-the-air stations and keeping the Citytv-branded stations.

But during recent regulatory hearings on the deal, CRTC commissioners expressed fears that allowing CTVglobemedia to combine Citytv stations in five major Canadian markets with its existing CTV-branded statinos would gut its ability to referee the Canadian TV industry.

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