Transcontinental pledges not to interfere with new papers

GTC Transcontinental Group has purchased the Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan community newspapers and assets of CanWest Global Communications for $255 million. CanWest's community papers in British Columbia and Ontario are still on the block.

GTC Transcontinental Group has purchased the Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan community newspapers and assets of CanWest Global Communications for $255 million. CanWest’s community papers in British Columbia and Ontario are still on the block.

The deal nets Transcontinental 12 papers plus 32 related publications such as TV books, real estate and vacation guides. The properties are a combination of daily, weekly and bi-weekly papers – both paid and free circulation. CanWest reports that its Atlantic and Saskatchewan papers contributed $30 million annually to its operating profits.

André Préfontaine, president of Transcontinental Media, says there are no plans to make changes at any of the new papers. He says they are all well-managed and profitable, and Transcontinental’s philosophy of management for its community papers is one of non-interference: ‘What is good for the community is good for the paper.’

Montreal-based Transcontinental, with its new acquisitions, now owns a total of 79 community newspapers (10 of which are dailies) in eight provinces as well as 83 related publications.

The transaction is expected to be completed mid-August pending Competition Board approval.