Transcontinental Continues to Exit the Newspaper Business

Transcontinental Inc. (TSX:TCL.A) clearly wants out of the newspaper business.

Last week, the company announced the sale of 28 regional papers in Atlantic Canada to SaltWire Network Inc. SaltWire’s most significant asset is the Halifax Chronicle. Approximately 650 employees will be offered employment in the new company. No purchase price was publicly announced.

This comes on the heels of the company’s sale of its Saskatchewan media assets in 2016. In all, 13 papers were included in that deal, including two daily papers in Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.

On Tuesday, the company continued the process of divesting itself from the newspaper business, announcing it was officially putting its regional papers in both Ontario and Quebec up for sale.

In total, 93 different newspapers -- and their associated digital properties -- will be on the auction block. One significant asset that will be put up for sale is Montreal’s Metro daily paper.

CEO Francois Olivier told investors "we are convinced that selling these assets to local players is the best course of action in order to contribute to the continued sustainability of local media and to foster greater connections with the advertisers and communities they serve."

Transcontinental will seek to include the printing contract of any newspapers sold as part of the deal, as well as being involved in the distribution. In addition, the company has pledged to continue operating any papers that aren’t sold as part of the deal.

Shares of Canada’s largest printing company decreased slightly on this news, falling $0.35, or 1.45%, to $23.81 each. Shares are still relatively close to their 52-week high of $25.66.