Astral Media shares tumbled almost 17% in the wake of a stunning regulatory decision that blocks a $3.4-billion friendly takeover of the Montreal-based radio, television and billboard company by BCE.
Astral’s A shares fell $7.84 to $39.16 in early trading on the TSX.
The shares had been trading at about $36.25 before the deal was announced on March 16 but immediately shot up afterwards and remained above $49 for months.
Astral’s shares had fallen slightly after opposition to the deal intensified and investors began to speculate federal agencies would require changes to appease concerns about concentration of media ownership and the impact on BCE’s rivals.
For the most part, however, industry watchers had expected the deal go through with some modifications but it was rejected outright on Thursday by the CRTC.