Regulator rejects Bell's bid for Astral

TORONTO -- Canada's broadcast regulator has rejected BCE Inc.'s bid to buy Astral Media Inc. for US$3.40 billion.

BCE, Canada's largest telecommunications company, had wanted to create a media powerhouse with more content to deliver to televisions and mobile devices across Canada.

Astral is Canada's largest pay and specialty TV broadcaster, owning 83 radio stations in 50 Canadian markets. It is also the third-largest outdoor advertising company and has a stake in the country's only subscription radio service, XM-Sirius Canada.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Thursday the controversial deal would have placed too much power in the hands of one company and threatened the competitive media landscape in Canada.

Many had expected the regulator would approve the deal with conditions