By Jon Robinson
Transcontinental Inc.’s Media Sector, TC Media, on April 27 completed the sale of 30 publications. The transaction includes 21 weeklies in the Montréal area, the Métro Montréal weekday newspaper, as well as eight publications in the Québec City area to Transmet Logistics & Metropolitan Media, led by President and Montréal businessmen Michael Raffoul.
Transcontinental launched a process to sell its Québec and Ontario newspapers one year ago, and today only five of those 93 titles remain under the company’s control.
“It is with much pride that we have served the Montréal and Québec City communities for many decades with the local newspapers and the reputed Métro Montréal weekday newspaper,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental. “We [now] hand over these publications to Michael Raffoul, an entrepreneur who is active in print media-related services.”
The transaction includes all Web properties related to the titles sold as well as the Québec Hebdo Website. In total, 119 employees of the various publications and 20 employees from TC Media’s Production team are transferred to the acquirer. TC Transcontinental also concluded a multi-year agreement for the printing of all of these titles, as well as for the distribution, with the exception of Métro Montréal, which is already under contract with Raffoul’s print media distribution company.
Raffoul said: “The print media industry has been at the heart of our business for a long time. Because of this unique relationship that binds us together, we truly understand the importance of newspapers in the communities. The acquisition of these quality publications thus reinforces our position in the industry, furthering our growth and development opportunities.”
In addition to the Métro Montréal newspaper, the Montréal-area publications included in this transaction are: Ambiance/Rendez Vous, L’Avenir de l’Est, Cités Nouvelles, Courrier Ahuntsic, Courrier Bordeaux-Cartierville, Corriere Italiano, L’Express d’Outremont – L’Express Mont-Royal, Le Flambeau Mercier-Anjou, Le Guide Montréal-Nord, Le Magazine de l’Île-des-Sœurs, L’Informateur de Rivière-des-Prairies, Journal de Rosemont, Messager Lachine & Dorval, Le Messager LaSalle, Le Messager Verdun, Nouvelles Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Les Nouvelles Saint-Laurent News, Le Plateau, Progrès Saint-Léonard, Villeray–Parc-Ex Petite Patrie and La Voix Pop.
For the Québec City area: L’Actuel, L’Appel, L’Autre Voix, Beauport Express, Charlesbourg Express, Le Jacques-Cartier, Journal Habitation and Le Québec Express, as well as the Québec Hebdo Website.
“To conclude, I would like to mention how satisfied and pleased we are with the outcome of the ongoing sale process for our local newspapers in Québec and Ontario launched a year ago,” noted François Olivier. “With the transaction announced today, only five of the 93 newspapers up for sale are left in the process and we continue to have discussions with potential buyers.”