Business

Rogers Media sells Maclean's, Chatelaine and other magazines to Toronto Life publisher

Rogers Media has struck a deal with the company that publishes Toronto Life to sell the company's seven remaining big consumer magazine brands for an undisclosed sum.

Deal for undisclosed sum is expected to close in April

Rogers sold off all of its remaining magazine brands on Wednesday, including Canadian Business, which it stopped publishing in print form in 2016. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Rogers Media has struck a deal with the company that publishes Toronto Life to sell the company's remaining magazine brands for an undisclosed sum.

In a press release Wednesday, Rogers and St. Joseph Communications say Maclean's, the English and French versions of Chatelaine, Today's Parent, HELLO! Canada, along with digital publications FLARE and Canadian Business, have been sold for an undisclosed sum.

"All current Rogers Media Publishing employees will be offered employment through the deal, which is expected to close in April 2019," the release said.

After buying the Maclean-Hunter media empire in 1994, Rogers Media grew quickly in the magazine world, and soon became the biggest magazine publisher in Canada by far. But in recent years Rogers has been slowly reducing its print footprint. In 2016 when it phased back publication of some titles, and stopped producing others altogether while laying off staff.

The company has reportedly been in negotiations to get out of the magazine business entirely for the past year or so, and last fall they sold off the former print magazine and current digital portal MoneySense to fintech company Ratehub Inc.

St Joseph's media calls itself Canada's biggest privately owned print, media and communications company, and their best known product is likely the magazine Toronto Life. They also own FASHION Magazine, Weddingbells, MARIAGE Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire and other titles. According to its 2015 Media Kit, St. Joseph's claims every monthly issue of Toronto Life is read by 611,000 people.

The company says it plans to develop and grow the magazine brands "that Canadians have come to know and love."

Rogers has been the biggest magazine publisher in the country ever since it bought the Maclean-Hunter publications in 1994.

"Our experience with brands such as Toronto Life, and the strategies applied and growth we have seen there, gives us confidence that we can help transform these brands so they may prosper in the quickly changing media landscape," CEO Tony Gagliano said in a release.

Chris Waddell, a professor in the school of journalism and communication at Carleton University in Ottawa, says the move could be some long overdue good news for an industry in systemic crisis.

"What's good about this is that the magazines have been sold to a magazine company … that has extensive experience producing magazines, which is a good sign for them and gives them a much better chance of survival," he said.

"There will no doubt be changes in the future but generally it gives the magazines probably the best prospects for a continued future that they could hope for," Waddell said.

With files from the CBC's Meegan Read

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