Rogers just announced it has sold its publishing division, including magazines, digital publications and custom content business, to St. Joseph Communications, the owner of Toronto Life and other magazines. The deal is expected to close in April but no financial information was announced. St. Joseph says it will keep all current employees.
It’s been known for a while that Rogers has been trying to offload its magazines to focus on broadcasting and telecom. The big question was who was going to buy it. A sale was reportedly in the works last fall to Graeme Roustan, owner of The Hockey News, but that deal fell apart. There was also reportedly a proposal by employees of the division to buy it, but Rogers did not seem to like that idea.
The deal includes Maclean’s, Chatelaine (English and French), Today’s Parent and HELLO! Canada, plus the “digital publications” Flare and Canadian Business. It does not include MoneySense (the Roustan deal also excluded that website, and it was sold to another buyer) nor anything Sportsnet-branded.
Here’s the press release:
St. Joseph Communications Acquires Publishing Division from Rogers Media
TORONTO (March 20, 2019) St. Joseph Communications (SJC) and Rogers Media today announced they have entered into an agreement in which SJC will acquire all seven of Rogers Media’s consumer print and digital magazine brands.
SJC is Canada’s largest privately owned communications company with three integrated platforms in Content, Print and Media. SJC will acquire Maclean’s, Chatelaine (English and French), Today’s Parent, HELLO! Canada, digital publications FLARE and Canadian Business, as well as the company’s Custom Content business.
SJC is committed to developing and growing these iconic brands that Canadians have come to know and love. All current Rogers Media Publishing employees will be offered employment through the deal, which is expected to close in April 2019.
“We are pleased to add these renowned titles to our portfolio of award-winning media brands and to welcome their dedicated staff into the St. Joseph family,” said Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman & CEO of SJC. “We also want to welcome their diverse and loyal audiences and advertisers who have supported these brands through the years.”
SJC has always been a proud publisher of quality editorial content. For close to two decades, its brands have told some of the most important, engaging Canadian stories in both print and digital.
“Bringing together two talented teams and many of Canada’s most celebrated magazine brands is an important opportunity for SJC, the media industry and our country,” said Gagliano. “Our experience with brands such as Toronto Life, and the strategies applied and growth we have seen there, gives us confidence that we can help transform these brands so they may prosper in the quickly changing media landscape.”
Rogers Media and SJC will work together to ensure a smooth change of ownership, including some transition services. Current subscribers will continue to receive their print and digital subscriptions.
“It was vitally important to us to find a good home for our employees and these storied brands so that the publications live on and flourish in a well-established company dedicated to publishing. It was a difficult decision, but one we believe is right as we accelerate our strategic vision and reposition our media business for the future,” said Rick Brace, President of Rogers Media. “We are extremely proud of these iconic magazine brands and all the employees who have delivered high-quality content for decades and helped shape Canadian culture and conversation.”
About St. Joseph Communications
St. Joseph Communications (SJC) is Canada’s largest privately owned print, media and communications company. Whether the channel is mobile, online, print, bricks-and-mortar, or all of the above, SJC creates integrated cross-platform content solutions that deliver a seamless brand experience. The company brings its 60+ years of award-winning expertise to leading retailers, publishers, cataloguers and financial corporations in North America. SJC also owns and publishes some of Canada’s most iconic and celebrated media brands: Toronto Life, FASHION Magazine, Weddingbells, MARIAGE Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire and the Where Group of Magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. SJC is a 2019 Platinum Club winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, marking 16 consecutive years of recognition. For more, visit www.stjoseph.com.
About Rogers Media
Rogers Media is a diverse media and content company that engages more than 30 million Canadians each week. The company’s multimedia offerings include 56 radio stations, 29 local TV stations, 23 conventional and specialty television stations, 7 magazines, podcasts, digital and e-commerce websites, and sporting events. Rogers Media delivers unique storytelling through its range of powerful brands: Sportsnet, Citytv, OMNI Television, Maclean’s, Today’s Parent, TSC, KiSS, FX, and the Blue Jays – Canada’s only Major League Baseball team. Rogers Media is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX, NYSE: RCI). Visit RogersMedia.com.
You can notice the sale price was “undisclosed sum”, which is generally an indication that the price was so low, nobody wants to talk about it. Rogers had been losing money on print for years, and went through the process a few years back of closing down a number of their print properties. Selling them off to a magazine company is probably the best chance these publications have to survive.
That is not necessarily the case, though it is easier to hide such a sum when it’s nominal since it won’t have an impact on a publicly-traded company’s bottom line. Since print media isn’t regulated, Rogers does not have to disclose how much it got, and is choosing not to. But yeah, considering how long they’ve been trying to offload this division, I would not expect the purchase price to be very high.