Monday, 30 July 2007

Osprey countdown

Black Press has four more business days to counter Quebecor's $414 million offer for Osprey's chain of newspapers in Ontario.

Quebecor and Osprey said today the Canadian Competition Bureau has cleared the way for Quebecor's proposed purchase of Osprey Media Income Fund.

So if David Black and Black Press shareholders don't come up with a second offer, some of Canada's oldest daily newspapers will become Quebecor newspapers.

Osprey has accepted Quebecor's latest offer, but says the bidding will remain open until Aug. 3, which is Friday.

If successful, Quebecor's tab for the chain of daily and weekly newspapers will be $575.8 million, including debt.

Canadian Press says Quebecor would then own about 16% of Ontario's daily newspaper circulation.

We can picture an assembly of Osprey employees chanting "come on Black Press, come on Black Press," with vivid memories of Sun Media's casualties since Quebecor took over in 1999.

All of this reminds us of the popular Pac-Man video game. Gobble, gobble, gobble and the numerous casualties in this game of newspaper ownership are employees and readers.

Our kingdom for a good, old-fashioned independent daily newspaper, free from the wrath of controlling shareholders and bean counters.

Hey, we had that with the Toronto Sun in the 1970s.

But that is being nostalgic and in PKP's book, nostalgia is non-productive.

Best to look ahead to more debt and more extreme measures to trim that debt, i.e. massive cutbacks, layoffs, buyouts, firings etc. Lean and mean.

On second thought, we're going to stick to nostalgic thoughts of the Sun in the 70s. It is so much more comforting.

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