This one hit like a ton of bricks: Gesca, the media company owned by Power Corporation, is selling six of its seven newspapers to Groupe Capitales Médias, a new company (literally formed on Monday and registered yesterday) owned by Martin Cauchon, former Liberal Party MP for Outremont.
The sold newspapers are:
- Le Soleil in Quebec City
- Le Droit in Ottawa
- Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières
- La Tribune in Sherbrooke
- La Voix de l’est in Granby
- Le Quotidien in Saguenay
The purchase price wasn’t disclosed. The new owner says current management at those papers will remain in place, including Claude Gagnon, who is president of the new company and remains in charge of the regional papers.
Gesca, for its part, says it wants to focus on La Presse+ and international sales of the platform it spent $40 million to develop. It never brought the other newspapers into this system, which many people found curious. Now I guess we know why. (Negotiations took several months — La Presse says it was a year — and other parties were interested in a purchase.)
UPDATE: Some details from InfoPresse: La Presse will continue selling national ads for the regional papers, and they will continue sharing copy. Plus La Presse+ and other technology will be shared with the regional papers, according to publisher Guy Crevier.
- Quebec’s journalists federation welcomes the move as a way to free these papers from “Montrealization”.
- Pierre Duhamel points out that Cauchon is a friend of the Desmarais family and wonders if they weren’t involved in arranging the deal.
- The Journal de Québec gets reaction from various parties, including journalists at the affected papers.
Famille Desmarais s'est trouvée un "faux-nez" pour la fermeture des quotidiens Gesca. La question qui tue : Quand ? http://t.co/xv2OJqGF0q
— Pierre Karl Péladeau (@PKP_Qc) March 18, 2015
UPDATE: The new owners are in negotiations with the union, and it doesn’t look good.