I’m about to acquire a lot of colleagues.
The Competition Bureau has approved (in the sense that it will not oppose) the $316-million acquisition of Sun Media’s 174 newspapers and publications in English Canada, the Canoe portal and other assets by my employer, Postmedia Network.
Press releases from Postmedia and Quebecor say the deal will close in the coming weeks. Once that happens, Postmedia will own the lion’s share of print media in English Canada, including three of six dailies in Toronto, and two paid dailies in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.
The bureau appears to have agreed with Postmedia’s argument that competition from other forms of media, particularly online, will prevent this transaction from becoming anti-competitive. The bureau also points to “the lack of close rivalry between Postmedia’s broadsheet and Sun Media’s English-language tabloid newspapers” and “existing competition from free local daily newspapers” in its decision.
I’ll update my media ownership chart once news comes down that the transaction has closed.
Could the meteoric decline of print advertising have factored in. Its not as if PMI can force higher rates on a medium that is no longer considered a must buy.
What could the competition bureau say? There is not a long line of buyers for these things, if anything it was more likely that many of them would be shut down from lack of interest.
PMI gets to try to apply their centralization “skinny local” model to these papers, and perhaps at least can kill them off in an orderly fashion and redirect people to other papers that they own.
I can actually see a day when we have “National Post, Montreal Gazette edition” with basically a single national newspaper with a local wrapper. Print is going away much faster than almost anyone could have predicted. 10 years ago, we would have said “not in my generation”, now it’s unlikely to see much daily local inkies printing 10 years from now.