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Torstar, Postmedia announce community and daily paper deal

Toronto Star publisher will operate dailies in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland and Peterborough.

Torstar Corp., the publisher of the Toronto Star, announced a deal to buy and sell ownership of a number of community papers with Postmedia Network Canada.

ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE/ FILE / Torstar News Service Order this photo

Torstar Corp., the publisher of the Toronto Star, announced a deal to buy and sell ownership of a number of community papers with Postmedia Network Canada.

Canada’s two largest print and digital media firms announced today they have signed a deal to buy and sell 41 newspapers, mainly in Ontario.

Torstar Corporation announced early Monday that it has purchased eight weekly community publications, seven daily community newspapers and two free daily newspapers from Postmedia.

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. announced a deal with Metroland Media Group and Free Daily News Group Inc., both subsidiaries of Torstar Corp., to buy 22 of Torstar’s community newspapers and two free commuter daily newspapers.

The two companies will close most of the affected papers in order to focus more efficiently on key areas.

“This transaction will allow us to operate more efficiently through increased geographic synergies in a number of our primary regions,” said John Boynton, president and chief executive officer of Torstar Corporation.

“By acquiring publications within or adjacent to our primary areas and selling publications outside our primary areas we will be able to put a greater focus on regions where we believe we can be more effective in serving both customers and clients.”

Metroland Media will continue to operate the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune and Peterborough Examiner.

The goal is to drive efficiencies geographically, according to the company.

Effective Monday, the daily publications that will close are the Barrie Examiner, Orillia Packet & Times and Northumberland Today.

The eight community newspapers closing are the Bradford Times, Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin, Fort Erie Times, Innisfil Examiner, Niagara Advance, Pelham News, Inport News (Port Colborne) and the Thorold Niagara News.

All of the publications were bought as part of the non-cash transaction – as the properties have approximately similar fair values – between Torstar and Postmedia.

Postmedia intends to continue operating the Exeter Times-Advocate and the Exeter Weekender, but is closing all the other properties it acquired in the deal by mid-January.

The commuter paper Metro Ottawa, which employs 12 people full-time and 13 people part-time, including three in editorial, will close, as will Metro Winnipeg, with 12 full-time and 15 part-time positions, including four in editorial.

Both 24 Hours Toronto, which under Postmedia had no staff directly employed by the paper, and 24 Hours Vancouver, which had one employee, will be closed.

In all, nearly 300 full- and part-time employees will be affected, including those working in editorial, sales, circulation and distribution. All will receive severance packages.

“This transaction allows Postmedia to focus on strategic areas and core products, and allows us to continue with a suite of community-based products, in a deeply disrupted industry,” said Paul Godfrey, executive chairman and CEO, Postmedia.

He said the costs of publishing dozens of small community newspapers in the regions means that most of them no longer have viable business models.

“The growing strength of digital giants has caused seismic shifts in the allocation of advertising revenues – putting all media companies under massive pressure,” said Andrew MacLeod, president and Chief Operating Officer, Postmedia.

“Our digital strategies are showing promising signs but we must take all possible actions in order to give these new initiatives time to grow momentum while managing the decline of legacy revenue streams and their associated costs.”

Properties Acquired by Postmedia from Torstar

(Note: Properties with an asterisk will not be closed.)

  • Belleville News
  • Brant News
  • Central Hastings News
  • *Exeter Times-Advocate
  • (and the Exeter Weekender)
  • Frontenac Gazette
  • Kanata Kourier-Standard
  • Kingston Heritage
  • Meaford Express
  • Metro Ottawa
  • Metro Winnipeg
  • Nepean/Barrhaven News
  • Norfolk News
  • Orleans News
  • Ottawa East News
  • Ottawa South News
  • Ottawa West News
  • Our London
  • Quinte West News
  • St. Lawrence News
  • St. Mary’s Journal-Argus
  • (and the St. Mary’s Weekender)
  • St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News
  • Stittsville News
  • Stratford City Gazette
  • West Carleton Review
  • Properties acquired by Torstar from Postmedia
  • 24 Hours Toronto
  • 24 Hours Vancouver
  • Barrie Examiner
  • Bradford Times
  • Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin
  • Fort Erie Times
  • Innisfil Examiner
  • Inport News (Port Colborne)
  • Niagara Advance
  • *Niagara Falls Review
  • Northumberland Today
  • Orillia Packet & Times
  • Pelham News
  • *Peterborough Examiner
  • *St. Catharines Standard
  • Thorold Niagara News
  • *Welland Tribune

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