Friday, 1 June 2007

Quebecor/Osprey

Thousands of Osprey Media employees at 54 newspapers will awake this morning to news they might soon be working for Quebecor.

Employees at the St. Catharines Standard, Peterborough Examiner, Kingston Whig-Standard and other Osprey newspapers have been hearing about Quebecor cutbacks, layoffs, firings, buyouts and resignations at Sun Media newspapers for eight years.

Some of the employees at Osprey's 21 dailies and 33 non-dailies might even be Quebecor/Sun Media casualities fortunate enough to have moved on to other media jobs.

Will they lose their appetite for breakfast when they hear Quebecor Media Inc., owner of Sun Media, is buying Osprey Media Income Fund in a friendly deal worth $516.9 million, including debt?

Canadian Press says Quebecor Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Inc. said it will pay $7.25 per unit, which values Osprey Media at $355.5 million.

While Osprey Media said its board and special committee unanimously recommend unitholders accept the bid, the sale is not yet a done deal, says CP.

As part of the deal, Osprey Media can consider and accept a superior proposal, giving Quebecor Media the right to match. If a higher bidder wins, Quebecor Media receives a termination fee of $15 million. As well, if another bidder is chosen, Scotia Merchant and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan can cancel their agreement with Quebecor Media, CP says.

"The offer from Quebecor Media reflects a strong value for unitholders while providing an excellent strategic fit for our newspapers", Michael Sifton, president and CEO of Osprey Media says in the CP story.

That's the problem with conglomerates buying up conglomerates - it is for the benefit of shareholders, not the front line workers putting out the product.

Says one observer: "They (Osprey employees) can probably expect new 'efficiencies' and 'economies of scale' and 'rationalization' and more common, corporate pages."

There are lots of buzz words in Quebecor's media business plans, which usually mean a loss of jobs and with Quebecor's penchant for centralization, more newspaper cloning.

Please tell us, when is big media too damned big?

Are we there yet?

1 comment:

  1. a soon to be quebcor employee1 June 2007 at 10:51

    In answer to your final question, I think we passed too damned big a few miles back... now we are rapidly approaching dangerously big, gas company big, grossly bloated unproductive money grubbing big

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