Hopefully the new owners of Maclean's will recentre the dial from its shift to the right. I wonder what the odds are of that happening.
Toronto Life owner St. Joseph Communications to buy Rogers magazines
MARCH 20, 2019
St. Joseph Communications, owner of Toronto Life magazine, has reached an agreement to acquire Rogers Media’s magazine brands, a stable of publications that includes Maclean’s and Chatelaine.
The two companies announced the agreement Wednesday morning, saying the deal is expected to close next month. They did not disclose financial terms but said “all current Rogers Media publishing employees will be offered employment through the deal.”
The deal includes all seven of Rogers Communications Inc.’s consumer print and digital magazine brands: Maclean’s, Chatelaine (both English and French editions), Today’s Parent, HELLO! Canada, and the digital titles Flare and Canadian Business. It also includes the company’s custom-content business, which creates editorial-style content such as branded magazines for companies.
Rogers formally put the business up for sale in mid-2018, hiring investment bankers at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to find a buyer. The Globe and Mail reported it was near a deal in November to sell the titles to Roustan Media Ltd., the publisher of The Hockey News, but it fell apart at the last moment.
In November, a group of Rogers Media employees put forth a proposal to purchase the magazine publishing assets. The group was spearheaded by Alison Uncles, editor-in chief of Maclean’s magazine, and entrepreneur Scott Gilmore, a former diplomat who is a Maclean’s contributor.
The Globe reported in late December that the employee offer was designed to provide staff with equity in the business, as well as the opportunity to purchase stock over time. A key feature was to be a commitment to maintain the staff headcount of nearly 150 people at the digital-content and publishing business until at least 2021, with no reductions in pensions or benefits and following existing union agreements. The employee offer also promised to continue publishing all of the titles, including existing print editions. (Flare and Canadian Business transitioned to digital-only publications in 2016.)
The sale process came after Rogers Media laid off 75 full-time employees in June, reducing the size of its digital content and publishing staff by a third. The company said at the time that the cost-cutting was designed to keep its publishing business “sustainable.”
Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media, said in the press release the company wanted “to find a good home for our employees and these storied brands.”
“It was a difficult decision, but one we believe is right as we accelerate our strategic vision and reposition our media business for the future,” he said.
St. Joseph Communications also publishes Fashion Magazine, Weddingbells, Marriage Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire and the Where Group of Magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto.
“Bringing together two talented teams and many of Canada’s most celebrated magazine brands is an important opportunity for SJC, the media industry and our country,” said Tony Gagliano, executive chairman and chief executive officer of St. Joesph Communications.