François Olivier,

Transcontinental ends 20 weekly papers in reorg

News comes as Competition Bureau approves the sale of 14 other papers

Transcontinental Inc. says it will end the publication of 20 weekly newspapers in Quebec, resulting in the layoff of about 80 employees.

The newspapers, for the most part, will be integrated with other publications it holds in the same regions, Transcontinental said Wednesday.

The Montreal-based printing company announcement comes as the federal Competition Bureau approved the sale of 14 community newspapers out of 33 that were put up for sale by Transcontinental. Of the 14 sold, three will continue to be published as weekly papers and 11 will be published online only.

The Competition Bureau required the sale as part of a $75-million deal last year in which Transcontinental acquired 74 weekly newspapers and their websites from Quebecor‘s Sun Media Corp.

All but one of the 19 papers that couldn’t find buyers will be closed. Transcontinental is also closing two its own weekly publications, bringing the total number of closures to 20.

In June, the Competition Bureau said that 33 weekly papers – 11 newspapers that had been launched or acquired by Transcontinental in the past few years and 22 Sun Media community newspapers, most of which had also been introduced since 2010 – needed to be sold to help preserve advertising competition in local Quebec markets.

Commissioner of Competition John Pecman said the watchdog is satisfied that 14 newspapers will be sold.

“However, I understand that some communities will be disappointed that no acceptable buyer was found for their community newspapers or that they are going to lose the paper edition of their newspaper,” he said in a statement.

“I remain convinced that the Bureau has done everything in its power to test the market to determine if there was a possible alternative to Transcontinental owing all the papers. Unfortunately, in some cases like this one, where many newspapers are in financial distress owing to the ongoing transformation of the community newspaper industry, the market dictates that there are limited alternatives.”

Transcontinental publishes more than 30 magazines including Canadian Living and Elle Canada, as well as books and flyers. It also has a network of community newspapers in the Atlantic provinces and online portals such as AutoGo.ca and JobGo.ca, and is the owner of the Metro weekday daily in Montreal and co-owner of Metro Halifax.

Quebecor Media operates Quebec’s largest daily newspaper Le Journal de Montreal, Le Journal de Quebec, the 24 Heures free daily, the QMI news agency and Sun Media Corp. which is Canada’s largest newspaper publisher.

Pictured: TC Transcontinental president and CEO Francois Olivier

Media Articles

Social Scanner: Hootsuite celebrates Halloween

Plus, Taco Bell goes dark on social and Chevrolet embraces its slip up

PMB and NADbank merge

New entity promises enhanced data, reduced costs

6 takeaways from the Brightroll Video Summit

Panelists covered everything digital, video and mobile

Bell Media launches video streaming service

"Project Latte" will include the entire HBO scripted off-air library

Toronto Crime Stoppers shed light on contraband tobacco

Public awareness campaign asks citizens to take action

UPDATED: Rogers and Vice Media enter $100-million partnership

Media companies to produce Canadian-focused content for mobile, web and TV

A revisionist’s recent history of TV and internet advertising (Column)

Traditional TV has done a poor job of defending itself against false perceptions that ad spend is shifting dramatically. The danger is these perceptions can lead marketers to invest against that change, making it a reality

Digital magazine readership on the rise: PMB

Digital readership increases by more than 50% in the past year

Nearly half of Canadians read a newspaper each day: NADbank

Digital-only readership is just 11%, but growing among younger demographics