Competition Bureau reaches agreement with Bell to protect competition for outdoor advertising in Ontario and Quebec

News release

June 10, 2024 – GATINEAU (Québec), Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau has entered into a consent agreement with Bell Media Inc. related to its proposed acquisition of Outedge Media Canada LP, formerly Outfront Media Canada LP. This agreement resolves competition concerns over outdoor advertising services provided by Bell and Outedge using their respective inventories of billboards and transit displays in Ontario and Quebec.

The Bureau’s investigation concluded that the merger was likely to substantially lessen competition in Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, the Greater Montréal Area and the Greater Toronto Area. Outedge and Bell vigorously competed with one another in these markets where there are a limited number of rival suppliers of outdoor advertising services. The loss of that rivalry would have resulted in higher prices and fewer options for customers. Other companies would face significant barriers to enter or expand into these markets. Those barriers include strict by-laws and lengthy permitting processes for outdoor advertising providers.

As part of this agreement, Bell must sell a total of 669 advertising displays, including certain digital displays, across the five markets. In designing the remedy, the Bureau considered the differences across Bell and Outedge’s outdoor assets. The agreement will ensure that a purchaser has a sufficient diversity of assets to effectively compete with Bell.

The complete consent agreement is available on the Competition Tribunal’s website.

Quick facts

  • Outdoor advertising is a type of out-of-home advertising. It includes media such as billboards and transit displays.

  • Bell is a communications company that provides a wide range of communication and media products and services to residential, business and wholesale customers. Its subsidiary, Bell Media, provides conventional TV, specialty TV, pay TV, streaming services, digital media services, radio broadcasting services, and out-of-home and advanced advertising services to customers nationally across Canada. Astral Out of Home is Bell Media’s out-of-home division, which operates a network of out-of-home advertising assets in Canada.

  • Outedge is the former Canadian subsidiary of OUTFRONT Media Inc., a real estate investment trust that provides advertising space on out-of-home advertising structures and sites in the United States and, prior to the close of the transaction, in Canada.

  • Consent agreements generally contain remedial measures that the Competition Bureau deems appropriate to address the impact of conduct that contravenes the Competition Act.

  • The Bureau encourages anyone who suspects an individual or a business of engaging in anti-competitive activities to report it by using its online form.

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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.

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