Canada’s Thomson Family Buys Out Rest of Globe & Mail

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Canada’s Thomson family gained full ownership of the Globe and Mail newspaper after buying the 15 percent stake it didn’t already own from BCE Inc.

The sale to The Woodbridge Co., the Thomsons’ investment vehicle, was announced in a statement on Friday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

BCE, Canada’s biggest telecommunications company, had owned part of the Globe and Mail since the early 2000s when it formed a joint venture with the Thomsons to run the paper and the CTV television network. It took over CTV in 2010. The Thomson family assumed control of the Globe but BCE maintained the 15 percent stake and a seat on the newspaper’s board.

Canada’s newspaper industry has struggled with the transition to online and digital media as advertising and print revenues shrink.

“I don’t think anyone is questioning that the status of the newspaper industry is declining,” David Heger, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis, said in a phone interview. “That may have been part of the thought process.”

Last year, two of Canada’s biggest newspaper groups came together as Postmedia Network Canada Corp. bought 175 publications from Quebecor Inc. for C$316 million ($241 million). The nationally-distributed Globe and Mail has a weekly print and digital circulation of 3.6 million, according to its website.

The Thomsons, one of Canada’s wealthiest families, own a 58 percent stake in Thomson Reuters Corp., which competes with Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, in providing news and information.

The Globe and Mail stake was a small part of BCE’s media business, which had C$2.9 billion in revenue in 2014, Heger said.

“I don’t know if it was moving the needle much in terms of results,” said Heger. “Relative to other holdings it wasn’t a key strategic fit.”

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