CRTC greenlights transfer of MTS broadcasting rights to Bell
Multi-billion-dollar Bell acquisition of MTS moves a step closer to completion
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has signed off on the transfer of MTS's broadcasting rights to Bell.
The CRTC approved the deal Tuesday. It shifts Manitoba Telecom Service's (MTS) broadcasting distribution licences to Bell Canada (BCE Inc.).
The latest transfer represents the first of three regulatory approvals the corporations need to close Bell's multi-billion-dollar acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS).
"We continue to make progress toward uniting Bell and MTS as we work with federal regulators to complete the remaining transaction approvals," George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell, said in a statement.
The broadcasting license change means Bell will be able to begin the rollout of its Fibe TV broadband system in Winnipeg and other locations, the company said in a statement. Fibe TV will be compatible with wireless TV and Apple TV.
Montreal-based Bell announced its intention to buy Manitoba's largest internet, phone and wireless provider in May in a friendly deal worth an estimated $3.9 billion.
Manitobans have expressed concerns about the potential for rate increases once Bell officially takes over.
The merger is expected to be completed in early 2017.
"We remain optimistic that we will secure the necessary approvals from the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada along the timelines set forth from the outset, and continue to be excited about the benefits the new Bell MTS partnership will bring Manitobans," said Jay Forbes, MTS president and CEO.