Canada's broadcasting regulator said no to Canadian telecom and media giant BCE's takeover of pay television and radio operator Astral Media in a deal worth Canadian $3.4 billion (US$3.45 billion).
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said it denied the takeover bid "because it is not in the public interest."
"BCE failed to persuade us that the deal would benefit Canadians," said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais.
"It would have placed significant market power in the hands of one of the country's largest media companies. We could not have ensured a robust Canadian broadcasting system without imposing extensive and intrusive safeguards, which would have been to the detriment of the entire industry."
The cash-and-stock deal would have firmed BCE, owner of Bell Canada, as Canada's biggest media giant and the leader in French-language media in Quebec province.
BCE already controls numerous television and radio services, as well as a national broadcasting distribution service. It is the largest Internet service provider in Canada, the second largest wireless service provider and the third largest television distributor.
The acquisition of Astral Media's 84 radio stations and 20 pay and specialty television channels would have created the potential for BCE to exert unfair market power and hinder competition, the CRTC said in its decision.