Postmedia Network Canada Corporation announced on February 17 that it has entered into a definitive agreement with J. D. Irving, Limited to purchase all of the issued and outstanding shares of Brunswick News Inc.
The proposal includes Brunswick News’ daily and weekly newspapers, digital properties, and parcel delivery business in exchange for $7.5 million in cash and $8.6 million in variable voting shares of Postmedia.
Jim Irving, who is co-CEO of J.D. Irving, said in a news release that the sale, “represents an exit from the media business,” for his company.
Postmedia announced, “…The Telegraph-Journal, Times Globe, Times & Transcript, The Daily Gleaner, Miramichi Leader, Woodstock Bugle-Observer, Bathurst Northern Light, Kings County Record, The Campbellton Tribune, and The Victoria Star will also join the Postmedia network of media properties.”
Local lawyer Aditya Rao took to Twitter in a thread titled, “Irving media may be bought by Postmedia,” to express his concerns about the acquisition, stating, “This is a very big and very small deal.”
Rao detailed his concerns for the buyout in reference to the reshaping of Canada’s local newsmarket in 2017 when Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Torstar Corp swapped 37 community newspapers and four free commuter papers and then closed most of them.
“The Irvings, who have a monopoly on English language print media in the province, have agreed to sell for a measly $15 million,” Rao wrote. “Postmedia has a history of buying up papers to shut them down and consolidate their own monopoly.”
This eventually resulted in a criminal investigation into Postmedia and TorStar’s intentions to shut down local newspapers, which has since been dropped.
Rao expressed concern for a lack of newsroom perspectives in New Brunswick already, stating, “This…means that NB, which is already a news desert, will see even less accountability and news coverage than it currently does if this deal goes through.”
Postmedia said the deal to acquire Brunswick News is subject to closing conditions.
“We cannot afford the Irving media monopoly in our province,” Rao expressed. “We certainly will not be able to afford Postmedia’s relentless anti-worker, anti-immigrant, and corporate-interest propaganda rags in New Brunswick. It is past time to break up these companies. Now, more than ever.”