Bloomberg News

Astral, Corus to Buy Teletoon Stake for C$96 Million (Update3)

July 13, 2006

Astral Media Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR/B), two Canadian broadcasters, agreed to buy the 20 percent of the Teletoon network they don't already own for about C$96 million ($84.8 million) from Cookie Jar Group.

Astral, based in Montreal, and Toronto's Corus will each own half the television network, according to a statement from the companies today. Teletoon airs animated programs such as ``Futurama,'' ``Family Guy'' and ``Gerald McBoing Boing.''

The increased stake builds on Astral and Corus's stations as consolidation in the Canadian TV industry intensifies. Yesterday, Bell Globemedia Inc. agreed to buy rival Chum Ltd. for C$1.4 billion, more than doubling its specialty channels.

Astral owns stakes in 17 pay-television and specialty channels in Canada, according to its Web site, while Corus invests in Canadian television, radio and animation companies.

Cookie Jar holds the assets of the animation company formerly known as Cinar Corp. The closely held Toronto-based company produces children's programs such as ``Arthur'' ``Caillou'' and ``The Doodlebops,'' according to its Web site.

Separately, Astral and Corus both released fiscal third-quarter earnings today. Astral reported that profit for the period ended May 31 climbed 12 percent to C$33.2 million, or 61 cents a share, from C$29.6 million, or 52 cents, a year earlier.

Corus said net income for the same period rose 20 percent to C$23.2 million, or 54 cents a share, from C$19.4 million, or 45 cents.

Astral shares fell 56 cents to C$37.44 in 4:10 p.m. trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Corus shares fell 44 cents to C$39.06.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Julie Alnwick at jalnwick@bloomberg.net.


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