Cogeco CEO says Bell, Astral deal bad for competition

Quebec's Cogeco Cable says it's still against Bell buying Astral Media, arguing that it's bad for both competition and consumers.

Louis Audet asks CRTC to block bid for 2nd time

Cogeco CEO Louis Audet attends the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission hearings into the Astral-Bell merger in Montreal on Wednesday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Quebec's Cogeco Cable says it's still against Bell buying Astral Media, arguing that it's bad for both competition and consumers.

CEO Louis Audet says Bell is already too large in the Canadian broadcasting and telecom industries and is asking the CRTC for a second time to block the revised, $3.4-billion deal.

Audet says even the second proposal by Bell to acquire Astral would result in an unhealthy level of ownership concentration in TV, specialty and pay TV, radio and new media in Canada.

He also says Bell and Astral have failed to acknowledge opposition to the merger by consumers and other advocacy groups.

The companies are seeking approval for a revised deal that, among other things, would see Bell sell all of Astral's English language specialty services and one of its English pay TV services.

However, it would keep eight of Astral's channels including the pay TV service, The Movie Network.