Competition Bureau offers no objection to TVA's $118M purchase of Vision Globale

OTTAWA – The Competition Bureau won’t oppose the $118-million acquisition of studio company Vision Globale by TVA Group, Quebec’s largest French-language television network.

The bureau said Tuesday that it decided to issue a no action letter on the deal after concluding the transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.

Among other things, the bureau noted that effective competitors remain in the marketplace for film and television production and post-production services.

The bureau also concluded that the quality and quantity of the television programs offered to viewers is unlikely to be affected by the transaction.

The deal, announced by TVA Group (TSX:TVA.B) and its parent, Quebecor Media Inc. (TSX:QBR.B), in November, is among a number that have been questioned by dissident shareholders led by Montreal-based Jarislowsky, Fraser Ltd., which is often outspoken on matters of corporate governance.

Among other things, the dissidents say the integration of TVA into the Quebecor Media Group has blurred the lines between the organizations, since some members of senior management are employees of all three companies.

The dissidents said in mid-December that they had filed a request for an investigation into a number of transactions, including the Vision Globale deal, with Quebec’s provincial securities regulator, the Autorite des marches financiers.

They have also asked the AMF to require TVA’s board to get approval from a majority of the minority shareholders of class B shares (TSX:TVA.B), before completing the proposed purchase of the assets of Globale and related financing.

TVA Group has described the arguments of the dissidents as being “without merit.”