CHUM Receives Takeover Bid, Closes Vancouver Newsroom

CBC News has reported that Bell Globemedia, parent of CTV, made a friendly takeover bid worth CAD $1.7 billion (U.S. $1.5 billion) to buy CHUM Ltd., just hours after CHUM cut 281 jobs across the country.

CHUM—which operates 33 radio stations, 12 local television stations and 21 specialty television channels—has endorsed the deal with Bell Globemedia, which owns the 21-station CTV television network, 17 specialty television channels, the Globe and Mail newspaper and several digital TV channels and Internet websites.

"In Bell Globemedia's offer, we not only found value for shareholders, but confidence that we would be placing CHUM in the hands of an owner with the financial resources and track record to continue to grow and build on our collective legacy," said Jim Waters, the chairman of CHUM and the son of late CHUM founder Alan Waters.

The deal is subject to approval of regulators, including the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

"With regulatory approval, we intend to serve Canadian audiences with both CTV and [CHUM's] Citytv stations," said Ivan Fecan, the CEO of Bell Globemedia and CTV.

"We will maintain separate and independent news divisions in order to ensure a continued diversity and competition in news coverage."

Bell Globemedia said it expects to sell CHUM's A-Channel and Access Alberta television stations.

But before the takeover deal was announced, CHUM told its employees that it was cutting jobs and closing its local newsroom in Vancouver--considered bizarre by many for a company that built itself on the philosophy of local presence.

CHUM said it was eliminating 281 full-time and part-time jobs across the country, while cutting or condensing much local news programming.