BCE Inc. Q4 net earnings were up 45.7% from a year earlier in the three months ended Dec. 31, rising to $708 million or 91 cents per share.
However, BCE’s adjusted earnings rose at a more moderate 4.8% to 65 cents per share – a penny short of analyst estimates.
Revenue was virtually unchanged year-to-year at just under $5.161 billion, also just short of analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Analysts had estimated BCE’s revenue for the fourth quarter at $5.167 billion and adjusted earnings per share at 66 cents.
BCE Inc. hasn’t given up on buying Astral Media and expects that its new $3.38-billion proposal will address the federal regulator’s concern about the telecom giant dominating the television market.
Specifics of the new application haven’t been made public by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
Astral has 25 specialty TV services, including The Movie Network, Family Channel and Disney XD, and 84 radio stations.
Bell, owner of the CTV TV network, has said it wants to put Astral’s content on smartphones, tablets, computers and TVs, and compete with foreign online competitors such as Netflix.
The CRTC killed the deal last month, saying it wasn’t in the best interests of Canadians and would have resulted in an unprecedented level of concentration in the Canadian marketplace.
If Astral has to sell some of its broadcast assets to make the deal work, other media and telecom companies are expected to come forward.