NEWS

Quebecor sells Sun Media English newspapers to Postmedia

10/06/2014 08:46 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST
Quebecor has agreed to sell all 175 English-language newspapers it owns under the Sun Media banner to Postmedia, the owner of the National Post and others, for $316 million.

The properties include The Toronto Sun, The Ottawa Sun, The Winnipeg Sun, The Calgary Sun and The Edmonton Sun, as well as The London Free Press and the free 24 Hours dailies in Toronto and Vancouver.

Much of the purchase price will be financed by a mix of $140 million in new debt, plus $186 million of new equity, to be bought by Postmedia's existing owners.

"In order to survive and compete against the largest foreign-based digital businesses, we must be strong enough to fight and win," Postmedia president Paul Godfrey said. "And collectively, this stable of strong brands can do just that. When the transaction is approved, we will be able to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach the full scale and scope of their target audiences with a Canadian option for their marketing programs."

Postmedia currently has about 2,800 employees across Canada, just slightly more than Sun Media, which employs about 2,400 people.

If it goes through as announced, the deal would mean Postmedia, which was built out of the ashes of the former CanWest media empire, would control just about every major English-language newspaper in Canada that isn't based in Toronto (the publishing home of the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail).

Postmedia says the chain plans to continue to operate both titles in markets where they now have the two market-leading newspapers, including Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

The deal also includes 160 small-town newspapers across the country, and also includes Sun Media's digital properties, including canoe.ca — although, notably, Quebecor will continue to operate Canoe.ca in Quebec, which according to a Postmedia investor presentation makes up about half of that website's monthly traffic.

Sun Media's Sun News Network television channel is not included as part of the deal.

The companies say they expect the deal to take about four to six months to meander through regulatory review.

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