Wednesday, 12 September 2007

24 hours now 100%

Quebecor, fresh from the acquisition of Osprey's chain of 54 Ontario newspapers, is still in a buying mood.

The Vancouver Sun says it has bought out Jim Pattison's interest in Sun Media's 24 hours, the free Vancouver commuter paper, for an undisclosed price.

The joint venture began March 30, 2005 after Sun Media launched 24 hours in Toronto and Montreal, says the Vancouver Sun story. Other 24 hours were later launched by Sun Media in Calgary and Edmonton, and in French and English in Ottawa.

"It's not a strategic investment or core holding for the Pattison group," Glen Clark, former 24 hours president and senior Pattison executive, told the Vancouver Sun.

"On the other hand, Sun Media is developing the brand all across the country. It's a core business for them, there are synergies for them. It made more sense for them to own 100 per cent."

Pattison, is an astute, self-made multi-millionaire, so we wonder what the between-the-lines message is in selling off interest in 24 hours.

The Vancouver Sun notes that CanWest's Dose, another free paper and former 24 hours competitor, is now an online-only newspaper and CanWest has sold its interest in Metro, another Vancouver free paper.

We are dizzy from the free paper maneuvers.

So when does the morphing of the thinning Suns in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton into free Sun/24 tabloids begin? PKP says it will never happen, but . . .

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