Cogeco Inc. is a Canadian telecommunications and media company. Its corporate offices are located at 5 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec. The company operates Cogeco Communications Inc. which is structured into three strategic business units (SBU); Cogeco Connexion, Atlantic Broadband, and Cogeco Media. The company provides a range of telecommunication products and services including cable television, radio and television broadcasting, telephony, and Internet services in Ontario and Quebec in Canada, and in eleven states along the east coast of the United States. Cogeco Inc. is a publicly traded company and is controlled (71.29%) by the Audet family's holding company Gestion Audem Inc. The Cogeco corporations are listed with the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: CGO and TSX: CCA). The name Cogeco is an acronym for Compagnie Générale de Communication ("General Communications Company").
|Traded as||TSX: CGO|
|Founded||Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada (1957)|
|Headquarters||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Products||Cable TV, Internet, Telecommunications, Broadcasting|
|Revenue||CA$2.33 billion (FY19) CA$2.15 billion (FY18)|
|CA$1.11 billion (FY19) CA$1.01 billion (FY18)|
|CA$432 million (FY19) CA$351 million (FY18)|
|Total assets||CA$6.95 billion (FY19) CA$7.18 billion (FY18)|
Number of employees
In June 1957, Henri Audet (1918-2012) who had left the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and had become president and managing director of Télévision St. Maurice Inc., was awarded a broadcasting license by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) to operate a television station in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. The call sign would be CKTM-TV, and it would become an affiliate of the CBC French-language network Société Radio-Canada (SRC). Télévision St. Maurice Inc. was later renamed Cogéco Radio-Télévision Inc., a subsidiary of Cogeco Inc. He would also become chairman and president of La Belle Vision Inc., which was in 1972, Cogeco's first acquisition. Henri Audet was chairman and CEO of Cogeco Inc. between 1976 and 1993, and later in the year 1996, was named President Emeritus of Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Cable Inc.
Over time the company divested itself of all its on-air broadcast television assets. In 1989, the company obtained its initial presence in Ontario by acquiring cable systems in Burlington and Oakville and in 1996 expanded further in Ontario by acquiring an additional 25 cable systems (303,000 customers for CA$350 million) from Rogers Communications. Between 1998 and 2001, Cogeco increased its footprint in both Quebec and Ontario with the acquisition of an additional 19 cable systems. In a turn of events, in 2009 and again in 2010, Rogers invested substantially in both Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Cable Inc., resulting in some speculation surrounding the two rivals.
In 2011, the company increased its radio station assets by acquiring Corus Québec, a subsidiary of Corus Entertainment, and in 2018 acquired additional radio stations from RNC Média, giving it a total of twenty-two radio stations in Quebec and one in Ontario. Also that year, the company purchased Métromédia for CA$41 million to later sell it in 2018 to Bell Media for an undisclosed amount.
In July 2012, the company expanded into the U.S. market by acquiring the cable system operator Atlantic Broadband. In December that same year, it acquired Peer 1 Hosting, an internet infrastructure provider, and later in October 2015, merged it with its Cogeco Data Services, forming a new subsidiary called Cogeco Peer 1.
In January 2018, Cogeco Communications Inc. announced that its US subsidiary Atlantic Broadband had completed the acquisition of the cable systems owned by Harron Communications which were operating under the brand name MetroCast for US$1.4 billion, making the company the eight largest hybrid fibre coaxial cable operator in North America.
On September 2, 2020, Altice USA announced an unsolicited offer to purchase both Cogeco and Cogeco Communications. If the offer is accepted, Altice would immediately resell Cogeco's Canadian assets to Rogers, which retains large minority interests in both Cogeco companies, while Altice would keep Cogeco's U.S. assets including Atlantic Broadband. Cogeco's controlling shareholders, the Audet family, indicated shortly thereafter that they would not support the offer; it has since been rejected as well by the independent members of the companies' boards of directors, while Quebec Premier François Legault has also signalled his opposition to losing another major Quebec-based company. However, Altice and Rogers said following these responses that they will continue to pursue a purchase, with Rogers promising to maintain a separate management team and regional headquarters for its Quebec operations. In October 2020, a second offer was made by Altice USA and, again, rejected by the Audet family. The second offer was brought to $11.1 billion in cash
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