Rogers buys 5 TV stations for $340 mil

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BANFF, Alberta -- Rogers Communications, Canada's largest cable company, has agreed to buy five Citytv TV stations from media group CTVglobemedia for CAN$375 million ($340 million) as part of a sale ordered by the country's TV regulator.

The all-cash deal was announced late Monday, days after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved CTVglobemedia's CAN$1.4 billion deal to buy rival broadcaster Chum Ltd. on the condition that it sell off the five free-to-air stations (HR 6/10).

Rogers, which also owns radio and TV stations, struck a deal in May to buy 10 terrestrial and cable channels, including seven A-Channel branded TV stations, from CTVglobemedia for CAN$138 million ($123.2 million). But that deal came unglued when the CRTC ordered the sell-off of the Citytv stations, opening the way for CTVglobemedia to replace the A-Channel stations with the Citytv services.

Acquiring the Citytv stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary will enable Rogers to expand its stable of channels here and possibly become a major buyer at the Los Angeles Screenings each May.

"The acquisition of the Citytv stations will significantly expand our television operations and solidify our position as an important participant in the Canadian television industry," Rogers Broadcasting president Rael Merson said.

CTVglobemedia, which operates the CTV national TV network, also said that it will acquire the rest of the Chum assets, which include radio stations and cable channels.

"We are embracing this decision. The people of Chum Ltd. have been in limbo for almost a year, and it is in everyone's best interest to move forward and build a stronger company from the combination of CTV and Chum," CTVglobemedia CEO Ivan Fecan said.
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