A day after laying off 200 employees across the country, Sun Media has sold 74 community papers in Quebec to the media division of Transcontinental Inc. of Montreal.
TC Media, owner of Canadian Living, Elle Canada and the Metro daily newspaper in Montreal, will pay $75 million for the community papers and their digital properties.
“Acquiring Sun Media’s 74 community papers in Quebec is in line with our strategy to strengthen the core assets of TC Media and develop a local digital media offering for businesses and communities,” François Olivier, president of Transcontinental, said in a statement.
Olivier said the acquisition will also boost TC Media’s digital presence.
The deal for the Quebec community papers will add about $20 million in operating income to Transcontinental revenues, it said..
Sun Media, owned by Quebecor, retains ownership of Le Journal de Montreal, Le Journal de Quebec, 24 heures in Montreal and the QMI news service, but is selling the rest of its Quebec holdings. It also retains the Sun newspapers and 24 Hours in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton,
Quebecor also agreed to print some of its magazines and direct marketing materials on Transcontinental presses.
The deal must be approved by the Competition Bureau, and Sun Media will continue publishing the weeklies until approval comes through.
None of the layoffs Sun announced Thursday affects the Quebec papers.
The same day, Transcontinental also announced its net losses in the fourth quarter nearly doubled to $92.2 million as revenues fell 3.2 per cent to $566.3 million.
Adjusting for one-time items, it earned $58.2 million, down six per cent from $61.9 million a year earlier. Earnings for the period ended Oct. 31 decreased by two cents per share to 75 cents.