Tag Archives: Postmedia Network

Competition Bureau approves Postmedia’s acquisition of Sun Media

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.

Postmedia outsourcing Gazette printing to Transcontinental

You’ve probably already heard this news, but just for the record, Postmedia announced this week that it is outsourcing the printing of The Gazette to TC Transcontinental Printing, beginning August 2014. (Transcontinental has its own press release.) The decision will mean the layoff of 54 full-time employees and 61 casual employees. (Transcontinental says it doesn’t need additional resources to take on the Gazette contract.)

Unlike editorial, advertising, reader sales and business office employees, which are represented by the Montreal Newspaper Guild, a local of CWA-SCA Canada, the plant employees are represented by a local of the Teamsters union.

This will also mean the same of the presses, the building and the land it sits on, with the money from it going to pay down Postmedia’s debt. Whether its vocation as a printing press remains depends on who buys it, but there isn’t much optimism of that happening. So expect that land on St-Jacques St. W. in N.D.G. to be repurposed for some industrial or commercial purpose.

Since I’m an employee of The Gazette, I won’t go much into detail about this decision. Even though I’ve never met most of the people at the plant in person, I haven’t had any bad experiences with them either. Same thing for Transmag, the Anjou-based printing plant that will put out The Gazette. I worked with them a decade ago when I was editor of The Link at Concordia University. Deadline was a fluid concept to us, but thankfully they were much more reliable than we were.

Transmag is unionized, by the way. Their current contract goes until October 2015, and the details of it are here.

I, for one, welcome our new Postmedia Network Inc. overlords

So, it’s official. At some point during the day on Tuesday, the $1.1-billion deal to purchase the publishing, online and other non-broadcast interests of Canwest Global Communications Corp. was finalized. I, like thousands of others across the country, have a new employer.

Once that happened, changes started happening fast, but they were for the most part cosmetic. Boilerplate notices have been changed (The Gazette’s nameplate on Page A1 now says “a division of Postmedia Network Inc.”, websites say “copyright 2010 Postmedia Network Inc.”), the most noticeable of which is that Canwest News Service, as of about 4pm Tuesday, was officially renamed Postmedia News. Stories from that news service immediately started appearing under that name.

Because the Canwest trademark is under the broadcast side which has been purchased by Shaw, it’s being scrubbed out of every nook and cranny of the publishing side (something few of my colleagues are feeling too upset about). This means changing names of divisions with Canwest in their names, removing references to Canwest to replace them with Postmedia Network, and most likely eventually mean everyone gets new email addresses too, a change many reporters will remember from when @thegazette.southam.ca became @thegazette.canwest.com.

I wish I could tell you of something more substantial behind the scenes, but (a) there isn’t yet that I know about, and (b) if I do know about it, it’s because it’s been announced internally, and you’ll quickly find it reported by other media. Expect announcements soon about new top executives, but I wouldn’t look for any major changes that affect business at the individual newspaper level yet.

One important facet of this whole process is that the former Canwest papers and the Global television network (and other Canwest broadcast interests) are now owned by different companies. So I have no conflict in writing about Global, and no fear of being called into a boss’s office if I point out that they spiced up a news report by adding unrelated footage.

In lieu of fascinating analysis by me, I’ll invite you to read this Financial Post piece about the way Postmedia Network (a company whose name is not to be abbreviated, I’m told) came to be. How the National Post managed to get this kind of information about a company run by the man who was until now CEO of the National Post will remain a mystery…