NEWS
01/19/2016 16:37 EST | Updated 01/19/2017 00:12 EST

Timeline of Postmedia empire's inception, growth and struggles

Postmedia announced Tuesday it was laying off about 90 editorial staff and merging newsrooms in four cities as it battles through rising debt and advertising and circulation losses. Here's a look at how the media empire was conceived and how it got here:

2000 — Canwest Global Communications Corp., then Canada's second-largest private broadcaster, acquires the former Southam newspaper chain from Conrad Black's Hollinger Inc. in a $3-billion deal.

2007 — Canwest takes on more assets and debt, partnering with Goldman Sachs Capital in a $2.3-billion deal to acquire specialty television producer Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.

2010 — Canwest puts its newspaper division put up for auction after going into bankruptcy protection. A group of creditors led by Paul Godfrey, then president and CEO of the National Post, and backed by New York hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management, win the bid in a $1.1-billion deal including $950 million in cash. The deal was structured to provided enough cash to pay off Canwest's banks, which were owed about $925 million. The newspaper division is renamed Postmedia. "Our new name reflects both the strong legacy and the exciting future of media as we prepare to emerge as a new Canadian business," Godfrey says.

Aug. 21, 2012 — Postmedia launches a metered paywall on its newspaper websites in a bid to counter lower income from advertising and print circulation.

Jan. 13, 2014 — About 48 staff are laid off at Postmedia's classifieds call centre in Calgary as it outsources that work to cut costs.

Oct. 6, 2014 — Postmedia announces a $306-million deal to buy 170 media brands from Quebecor Media. The deal includes Sun Media newspapers in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and London, Ont., 25 smaller dailies, the free 24 Hours newspapers in Toronto and Vancouver, and more than 140 community newspapers, trade publications and magazines.

March 25, 2015 — The Competition Bureau approves the Quebecor deal, ruling that it is unlikely to substantially lessen or prevent competition. The bureau also cited the lack of a close rivalry between Postmedia's broadsheet newspapers and Sun Media's tabloid newspapers.

April 13, 2015 — The acquisition of Quebecor newspapers is completed, giving Postmedia 2,500 new employees along with the 170 new titles. The cash deal also increases Postmedia's long-term debt to about $662 million.

Oct. 21, 2015 — Postmedia shuts down its evening tablet editions of the Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette, citing a lack of interest from readers.

Oct. 22, 2015 — Postmedia reports a net loss of $263.4 million for the year ending Aug. 31, 2015, more than double the $107.5 million it lost the year before.

Jan. 13, 2016 — Postmedia posts a $4.2 million loss in its latest quarterly results. Revenue, not including the Quebecor acquisitions, was down 17.6 per cent in advertising, 6.7 per cent in print circulation, and 5.7 per cent in digital media. The company announces it is increasing its targeted cost-cutting from $50 million to $80 million in the face of continued losses. "Where we can remove duplication, we must," Godfrey says. "And where we need to make tough choices for our chance for the future, we'll do that too."

Jan. 19, 2016 — Ninety people are laid off as Postmedia merges its broadsheet and tabloid newsrooms in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press