Glacier Media is buying one of Canada’s oldest newspapers, Times Colonist in Victoria, along with 20 other smaller publications in British Columbia.
The Vancouver-based publisher bought Postmedia’s community newspapers portfolio for C $86.5 million (U.S. $85.3 million). The sale did not include The Vancouver Sun or The Province, two of Canada’s most widely read papers.
Glacier’s president and CEO John Kennedy says the deal gives Glacier the broadest local newspaper coverage in Western Canada. "It significantly increases our reach across British Columbia as well as Western Canada for local, regional, and national advertisers and provides significant digital media opportunities," he said in an interview.
Speaking to the Winnipeg Free Press, Kennedy added that local press was an attractive prospect for Glacier. "In local communities, you're the primary source of information and a primary marketing channel for advertisers, so it offers you a unique selling proposition," he said.
Paul Godfrey, president of Postmedia Network, described the deal as "a win-win." "It helps us greatly reduce the existing debt on the company,” he said in the Times Colonist, “and [Glacier] wants to expand their footprint."
Godfrey added that as Colonist staff didn't buy into Postmedia's "digital first philosophy," it was a good time to part company with the publication. "We think there will always be ink on newsprint. We believe in the newspaper," he said. "But we also realize that things like websites, iPads, Playbooks, and all those other devices are coming out. . . . We have to move into digital, and we have to do it at a gallop."
The deal is the latest consolidation in the Canadian newspaper market. It comes less than a week after rival media group Torstar announced its acquisition of the Canadian chain of Metro free daily newspapers. Torstar bought the papers, which are read by about 1 million commuters each day, for C $51.5 million. Last Monday, Torstar also announced plans to take over community paper and ad flyer company Performance Printing for C $22.5 million.