BCE Bids for CTV

In the latest of a series of moves aimed at creating its own integrated information, communications and entertainment service, Montreal-based BCE Inc. announced on February 25, 2000 a $2.3 billion all-cash takeover offer for CTV Inc., Canada’s largest publicly held television broadcaster. Since cashing-in on the spin-off of its stake in former affiliate Nortel Networks Corp., BCE has set about spending its estimated $8 billion war chest in an effort to become a leading national and international player in the converging broadcasting and new media industries. The $38-a-share bid is aimed at providing Canadian content for the Sympatico-Lycos Internet portal joint venture that BCE entered into with US Internet giant Lycos Inc. in early February 2000 and which is reported on in this edition of Lexpert.

The BCE offer is conditional on 50 per cent of the common shares in CTV being tendered, approvals by Canada’s telecommunications regulatory agency, agreement being reached with CTV over an Internet distribution arrangement, and the abandonment of CTV’s “poison pill” shareholder’s rights plan.

BCE is represented by Stikeman Elliott, with the principal members of the Stikes team being Calin Rovinescu, and Jean-Marc Huot and Marie France Nantel out of the Montreal office. CTV is represented by a team from Goodman Philips & Vineberg which includes Dale H. Lastman, Jeff Singer, David J. Matlow (corporate/securities), Kathryn Robinson, Jennifer Bol (commercial), Neil A. Sternthal and V. Chantal Thibault (corporate).