13 September 2000

The tug-of-war over Quebec-based cable group Videotron seems on the verge of being won by Canadian printing and publishing giant Quebecor, in a deal worth C$4.9 billion. A formal announcement is expected today.

Videotron, which has 1.5 million subscribers, previously agreed a deal with Rogers Communications, Canada’s largest cable group. But Rogers was outbid last month by Quebecor’s higher offer, and it has taken until now to iron out the details, among them a C$241 million break-up fee for Rogers.

The Rogers deal would have taken control of Videotron out of the fiercely independent French-speaking province. Quebecor’s bid, however, was made in partnership with Quebec public pension fund manager, Caisse de Depot et Placement, which has previously scuppered deals between Quebecois groups and outside companies. Nevertheless, Quebecor denies that its choice of partner had political overtones.

News source: Financial Times