Fairfax Financial increases its stake in Torstar

Investment manager Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is paying about $12.8 million to expand its stake in media company Torstar Corp. The Toronto-based firm, which is headed by Bay St. investor Prem Watsa, said Thursday that the move boosted its holdings by 3.4% to nearly 23%. The purchase of an additional 2,385,000 class B shares was […]

Investment manager Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is paying about $12.8 million to expand its stake in media company Torstar Corp.

The Toronto-based firm, which is headed by Bay St. investor Prem Watsa, said Thursday that the move boosted its holdings by 3.4% to nearly 23%.

The purchase of an additional 2,385,000 class B shares was made at $5.35 per share for investment purposes, the company said.

Torstar owns various media assets, including the Toronto Star news organization, free Metro daily papers and Harlequin books.

Earlier this month, Torstar reported relatively steady fourth-quarter profits of $20.6 million, compared with $21.1 million a year earlier.

Total revenue was $366.5 million, down 7%t from $395.7 million a year earlier, although the media division’s revenue was up from the third quarter.

Watsa is known for taking risks, which have included betting against the U.S. housing bubble, which paid off when the market collapsed. He is also known for seeing value in companies that other investors miss.

Last year, Fairfax stood behind smartphone company BlackBerry with a US$1-billion financing, further increasing its investment by another $250 million in January.

Torstar has struggled for years with the decline of the print newspaper industry and, last summer, launched a paywall on its website to convince more readers to subscribe to its content.

The media company’s stock price has fallen dramatically from its all-time high of about $30 per share a decade ago.

Torstar shares closed up 23 cents, or 4.36%, at $5.51 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The issue has seen a 52-week high of $7.53 and a low of $4.96.

Media Articles

How VW gets beyond TV to connect with drivers

Can an industry built on TV advertising find relevance online?

Microsoft strikes deals with AOL for display ads

Street image mapping service sold to Uber

Mobile made up a quarter of Canada’s online spend in 2014

IAB annual revenue survey shows gap widening between digital and TV

Porter Airlines fined over anti-spam compliance

$150,000 for allegedly leaving "unsubscribe" off commercial emails

Inside Facebook: Shifts in marketing and mobile strategy

Is Facebook even a social media company anymore?

The AOL Sessions – The viewability lightning rod

The value of viewability vs. attribution

Ukrainians clamour for Canadian TV in media conflict

As the plug gets pulled on Russian shows, content needed to fill the airwaves

Maple Leafs bring on the beacons for fan event

MLSE planning further experiments with tech partner Rover Labs

David Jowett named president of DAC Group, Europe

Former Vision7 leader will spearhead the agency's growth in Europe