Quebecor, Torstar divide up Sun Media

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TORONTO--In the latest deal for control of more of Canada's daily newspapers, Montreal-based Quebecor has decided to sell four southern Ontario broadsheet papers to Torstar Corp., Toronto, ending Torstar's hostile bid for Candandian newspaper publisher Sun Media Corp., Toronto.

The agreement, which clears the way for Quebecor to acquire Sun Media, is expected to close in January. Quebecor will first acquire Sun Media's group of 10 dailies and about 100 community papers and shopping guides for $654 million. It will will then sell four of the Sun Media daily papers to Torstar for $233 million. Those papers are The Hamilton Spectator, The Record of Kitchener-Waterloo, The Guelph Mercury and The Cambridge Reporter.

Sun Media acquired the four dailies, and cash, from Canadian newspaper publisher Southam last summer. In that deal, Southam acquired Sun Media's Financial Post newspaper, which it has since merged into Southam's new National Post daily.

Once the dust settles, Southam Inc./Hollinger Inc. will control 40.7% of daily newspaper circulation in Canada; Quebecor/Sun Media will control 21.7%, Torstar 14.2%, Thompson Corp. 10.7%, with the balance controlled by several smaller companies.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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