HALIFAX—Canada’s oldest independent newspaper has bought the newspaper and publishing assets of Transcontinental Media in Atlantic Canada.
The Halifax Chronicle Herald said April 13 that a new company, SaltWire Network, will comprise 27 Transcontinental newspapers and the novanewsnow.com website and the Herald’s own publications.
Financial terms of the transaction, which is effective immediately, were not immediately available.
The acquisition comes amidst a more than year-long strike involving editorial staff at the newspaper.
“This acquisition positions us for growth,” Mark Lever, president and CEO of SaltWire Network said in a news release.
“We are bringing together 950 talented employees to create a media network that will give national and regional brands access to 71 per cent of the region’s newspaper readers.”
Among the newspapers involved in the transaction are the Charlottetown Guardian, St. John’s Telegram and the Cape Breton Post.
The deal also includes the acquisition of four printing plants operated within TC Media, commercial printing operations in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and combines the largest distribution networks in Atlantic Canada.
“This deal gives us the reach and relevance we need to be sustainable, allows us to weave the region together in a way we’ve never before seen, and creates the kind of competitive offering necessary for today’s advertisers,” said Lever.
Transcontinental says about 650 of its media employees in Atlantic Canada are part of the transaction and will receive an offer from SaltWire Network Inc.
Transcontinental remains the owner of two plants operated within its printing division in the region.
The union for the 54 striking reporters, photographers, editors and support staff at the Halifax Herald was scathing in its assessment of the purchase. It said the announcement stood in “stark contrast” to the concessions the Herald has insisted upon over the past 16 months.
“We were told that the Herald’s demise was imminent if it didn’t immediately cut wages and other benefits to newsroom staff,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union.
“Apparently, that was a total fabrication. The company is not struggling but is instead planning to expand.”