CRTC approves Shaw Canwest deal, launches review of anti-competition safeguards
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission yesterday approved Shaw Communications' acquisition of the conventional television stations and specialty channels controlled by Canwest Global Communications. At the same time, the commission launched a public proceeding to review its safeguards to prevent anti-competitive behaviour in the broadcasting industry. The proceeding will include a public hearing starting on May 9, 2011, in Gatineau, QC. "The broadcasting industry is being significantly reshaped by a series of major transactions," said Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the CRTC. "As a regulator, it is only prudent that we study the implications to ensure we have the right tools to deal with competitive concerns as they arise. Transactions will continue to be considered under the existing rules until we have completed our review." The commission cited Quebecor Media's purchase of TVA in 2001, Rogers Media's purchase of five Citytv stations in 2007, the Shaw Communications purchase of Canwest Global and BCE's intention to acquire full control of CTVglobemedia as examples of industry consolidation. According to the CRTC, such large, integrated broadcasting distributors could act in a manner that would be detrimental to the broadcasting industry.