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CHUM's Craig takeover approved

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OTTAWA � The CRTC today cleared the way for CHUM Ltd. to acquire Craig Media and shift the Toronto 1 station to Quebecor Inc.

CHUM agreed last spring to buy Craig Media for $265 million in cash. The deal included Craig television stations in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, along with the MTV, MTV2 and TV Land digital specialty television channels.

It then agreed to sell Craig's money-losing Toronto 1 station to two Quebecor divisions, TVA and Sun Media, for $46 million. As part of that deal, CHUM will get Sun Media's 29.9 per cent stake in southern Ontario cable news channel CablePulse24 (CP24) valued at $8 million.

In endorsing the $46-million purchase of Toronto 1, the commission noted that Quebecor's TVA Group and Sun Media have promised to fulfill Toronto 1's ambitious local-programming licence conditions.

CHUM told the commission that CHUM ownership will enhance the Canadian content of former Craig stations because they will be able to pay more to local producers and get more money from the Canadian Television Fund, set up to finance Canadian TV productions.

It also promised to increase coverage of local news and other events by bringing the "street-front/store-front" style pioneered by Citytv to the former Craig stations.

Both transactions are expected to close Dec. 1, 2004.

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When it comes to the three subscription radio applications to be heard by the CRTC November (see this site for stories explaining it), should the Commission:
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Approve the CHUM "Canadian" option?  
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Approve none?