Canada government can't intervene in BCE decision

TORONTO -- The Canadian government says it can't overturn a decision by the country's broadcast regulator to reject BCE Inc.'s bid to buy Astral Media Inc. for US$3.4 billion.

Sebastien Gariepy, a spokesman for the heritage minister, said Friday decisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission are made independent of the government. He says the federal cabinet has no legal ability to overturn the decision.

The regulator blocked the deal on Thursday, saying it would have resulted in an unprecedented level of consolidation in Canada's media industry.

BCE, Canada's largest telecommunications company, said Thursday it would ask the federal cabinet to intervene.

Astral is the country's largest pay and specialty TV broadcaster.

BCE, which wants to deliver more content to televisions, tablets and mobile devices, can appeal in court.