The timing is purely coincidental, but as the sun sets on downtown Regina tonight here’s a link to a CBC story about a big Canadian media merger that happened today.
Postmedia, which owns a huge swack of newspapers and TV stations in Canada including the Leader-Post and Star-Phoenix, bought the English newspaper chain of Quebecor-owned Sun media. 175 papers were involved, most of the small town variety, with a few big names like the Toronto/Edmonton/Calgary/Winnipeg Sun.
Sun TV wasn’t part of the deal. And Quebecor still has French-language media holdings. The purchase price was $316 million, and the speculation is that Quebecor might be assembling capital to try to become a fourth wireless carrier in Canada. The Harper government wants to see one emerge to put some market pressure on the big three (Telus, Rogers and Bell), but it’s a big undertaking and other contenders like U.S.-based Verizon have even stepped away.
As for Postmedia, it’s been struggling financially. In announcing the acquisition Postmedia president Paul Godfrey spoke of synergies. In some big-city markets, Postmedia will now have competing dailies. With the niche market they enjoy, small-town papers still make money. But Postmedia has had some serious financial struggles lately, and Godfrey’s strategy is by no means a slam dunk.