05/02/2014 07:35 EDT | Updated 07/02/2014 05:59 EDT

Torstar Sells Harlequin To Rupert Murdoch-Owned HarperCollins

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TORONTO - Torstar Corp., owner of the Toronto Star and other newspapers, says it's selling the Harlequin book publishing company for $455 million to HarperCollins Publishers, a division of Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp.

Torstar says the sale will strengthen the financial position of Torstar and a portion of the net proceeds will be used for debt reduction.

Harlequin, known for its romance books, has been part of Torstar for 39 years.

Torstar has said lower revenues were the primary challenge at Harlequin as the book publishing company adjusted to the digital environment.

Harlequin has more than 350 employees in Canada, and Torstar says HarperCollins has indicated that Harlequin will remain headquartered in Toronto.

Harlequin publishes the work of more than 1,300 authors and releases more than 110 titles monthly through publishing operations in 16 countries. About 95 per cent of Harlequin's revenues are from outside Canada.

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