What happened: Media Central set to acquire long-standing Vancouver weekly newspaper
Why it matters: The move comes amid other notable shifts in the city’s newspaper landscape
Another media shakeup is afoot for the Vancouver market following a $1.25-million acquisition deal involving the owner of the Georgia Straight alternative weekly newspaper.
Toronto-based Media Central Corporation Inc. (CSE: FLYY) announced Monday (January 6) it’s entered into a binding letter of intent to purchase Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp.
Media Central is offering $750,000 cash and $350,000 in shares, in addition to paying a $150,000 advisory fee to take over the sole owner and operator of the Georgia Straight and its associated publications.
The deal is expected to close by February 28.
“While the North American media landscape continues to change, traffic and readership at the alternative weeklies has remained steady. MediaCentral sees a huge opportunity to consolidate and protect the soul of North American weeklies and unify their passionate base of alternative followers with a smart and scalable business model," Media Central CEO Brian Kalish said in a statement.
Last month Media Central also acquired Toronto’s Now Magazine in a deal worth as much as $2 million.
The Georgia Straight acquisition is just the latest shift in Vancouver’s media landscape.
Torstar Corporation (TSX:TS.B) announced in November 2019 it was ceasing the print publications of its free daily StarMetro newspapers in Vancouver as well as Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Halifax.
While the free dailies ceased printing last month, the Toronto Star has retained a smaller Vancouver bureau.
Publisher Dan McLeod, who founded the Georgia Straight in 1967, said he’s received several offers over the years to sell the newspaper.
"But none of those offers made sense to me until I met Brian Kalish,” he said in a statement.
“Kalish's company, MediaCentral, is preparing to fund the purchase of up to 100 alternative papers in Canada and the U.S., each one serving its own community, and uniting them under one alternative umbrella. Toronto NOW and the Georgia Straight are the first two such papers. But this won't be another bland megamerger, far from it, according to Kalish. Each paper will have its own identity and editorial freedom.”
In addition to the Georgia Straight, the deal sees Now Media acquire straight.com and straightcannabis.ca.