Torstar

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Torstar Corporation
Public
Traded asTSXTS.B
IndustryMass media
Founded1958
HeadquartersOne Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
Key people
John Boynton, President
Number of employees
4,000 (2016)[1]
DivisionsDaily News Brands
Metroland Media Group
Websitewww.torstar.com
One Yonge Street, the Torstar headquarters

Torstar Corporation is a Canadian media and publishing company. The company is primarily a publisher of daily and community papers, including its flagship and namesake, the Toronto Star.

History[edit]

Torstar was founded after the Ontario government passed a law barring the provisions of late-Toronto Star owner Joseph Atkinson's will from being enacted. Atkinson had bequeathed the newspaper to a charitable organization he had founded. The Progressive Conservative provincial government of George Drew passed a law banning charitable organizations from operating profitable entities such as newspapers. Rather than sell the newspaper, the trustees of the Atkinson Foundation bought out the Star privately and founded Torstar as a private corporation.[citation needed][2]

On November 26, 2010, it was announced that the Canadian Press news agency would be taken over by a for-profit corporation, with Torstar serving as one of its investors.[3] In December 2011, Torstar acquired a 25% minority stake in specialty television channel owner Blue Ant Media.[4]

On November 27, 2017, Postmedia and Torstar announced a transaction in which Postmedia will sell seven dailies, eight community papers, and the Toronto and Vancouver 24 Hours to Torstar, in exchange for 22 community papers and the Ottawa and Winnipeg versions of Metro. Except for the Exeter Times-Advocate, St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Peterborough Examiner, and Welland Tribune, all acquired papers will be closed. Torstar stated that it wanted to focus on building synergies within its existing markets served.[5][6] The swaps effectively remove competition between the two companies in the affected markets;[7] the Competition Bureau stated that it would review the proposed deal.[8] and in March 2018, formally accused the companies of using no-compete clauses to reduce competition in the newspaper industry, in violation of the Competition Act.[9][10]

On September 20, 2018, Torstar announced that it would acquire iPolitics.ca to enhance its coverage of the federal government.[11]

Operations[edit]

Torstar's media operations are divided into three primary divisions: Daily News Brands, Metroland Media Group, and Digital Ventures (VerticalScope)

In September 2018, Torstar announced a deal to acquire the existing political news website iPolitics. The initial coverage of the deal did not clarify which of the following divisions of the company will be the formal owner of iPolitics.[12]

Daily News Brands[edit]

The Daily News Brands division primarily comprises the Toronto Star and its associated properties, including Torstar Syndication Services and the commuter paper StarMetro in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Halifax. The division also owns a stake in the Canadian edition of the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily.

Metroland Media Group[edit]

The Metroland Media Group division owns six daily newspapers — The Hamilton Spectator, the Niagara Falls Review, the Peterborough Examiner, the St. Catharines Standard, the Waterloo Region Record, and the Welland Tribune — as well as more than 100 community papers, the free magazine Canadian Immigrant, and other community-oriented properties.

VerticalScope[edit]

On July 29, 2015, Torstar announced its acquisition of a 56% majority stake in VerticalScope, a Toronto-based operator of online communities, for $200 million. The company operates websites and message boards that focus on niche categories—particularly within the automotive industry. Torstar CEO David Holland explained that the purchase was designed to bolster the company's presence in digital media.[13]

Other investments[edit]

Torstar owns a 20% stake in the Victoria, British Columbia-based newspaper publisher Black Press.[14]

Past investments[edit]

Torstar launched a weekly celebrity-based magazine called Scoop in 2005, which folded one year later.

Though newspapers have been accused of missing the internet "revolution", in the early 1990s, Torstar became a pioneering investor in the early internet via its purchase of shares in JCI Technologies which created Jobmatch, Automatch and Realtymatch (an MLS search service). In 1995, JCI was selected to be one of the first content providers selected for Microsoft's MSN network prior to MSN's launch in the mid-1990s. By early 1996, JCI potentially had a dominant position in Canada's on-line classified ads with Southam also taking a stake in the company. Shortly after Conrad Black's Hollinger took over of Southam, financing for JCI was pulled and the investment failed just prior to the internet boom of the late 1990s.[citation needed]

Between late 2005 and early 2011, Torstar also held a 20% stake in CTVglobemedia, a Canadian media company which broke up when BCE Inc., the parent company of Bell Canada, purchased the company's media assets.[15] This caused some controversy because CTVgm owned The Globe and Mail, a competing newspaper to Torstar's own Toronto Star. There were no editorial hurdles between the two newspapers however. Torstar announced in September 2010 it had entered into agreements to sell its shares. The sale was completed in 2011.[citation needed]

On May 2, 2014, Torstar announced the sale of Harlequin Enterprises, a publisher of romance novels, to HarperCollins for $415 million.[16][17]

Corporate governance[edit]

Current members of the board of directors of Torstar are:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Company Profile for Torstar Corp (CA;TS.B)". Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  2. ^ Atkinson Principles - TORSTAR CORPORATION. Torstar.com (2011-12-16). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  3. ^ Dana Flavelle (2010-11-26). "Major publishers invest in Canada's oldest news agency". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  4. ^ "Torstar acquires 25 per cent stake in Blue Ant Media". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Postmedia to close community newspapers in Stratford, London, St. Thomas". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  6. ^ "Torstar, Postmedia swap community papers, most to close". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  7. ^ Faguy, Steve (2017-11-27). "Postmedia/Torstar deal results in almost 300 jobs lost as dozens of newspapers shut down". Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  8. ^ "'The alarm bells should go off:' Postmedia, Torstar deal will see 36 community papers closed". Financial Post. 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  9. ^ Jackson, Emily (2018-03-22). "Competition Bureau's concerns over Postmedia-Torstar newspaper swap revealed in court filing". Financial Post. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  10. ^ "Torstar, Postmedia and the arrogance of the deal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  11. ^ "Toronto Star owner to buy political website iPolitics". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  12. ^ "Torstar signs agreement to purchase political website iPolitics". CBC News, September 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "Struggling Torstar wagers $200-million on a niche digital company". The Globe and Mail. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Is spinoff in the cards?". Financial Post. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  15. ^ Kiladze, Tim (13 September 2010). "Torstar walks away from BCE-CTV smiling". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  16. ^ "News Corp. to Buy Harlequin for $415M". ABC News. May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  17. ^ Greenfield, Jeremy Greenfield (May 2, 2014). "News Corp Acquires Harlequin, Adds to HarperCollins Portfolio". Digital Book World.

External links[edit]