Star-Bulletin owner in paper bidding war
MONTREAL » Quebecor Media Inc. increased its offer to buy Osprey Media Income Fund to C$8.45 ($8.00) a share after a court declined to block a bid by rival newspaper publisher Black Press Ltd.
Quebecor said yesterday that its new offer represents a 17 percent premium over its May 31 bid of C$7.25 ($6.86) and tops the C$8.25 ($7.81) offer last week by Black Press, which also owns the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and MidWeek. Yesterday's bid values Osprey at C$414 million ($392 million), based on the number of shares outstanding on June 29.
The Ontario Superior Court decided yesterday not to proceed on Quebecor Media's request that it block Osprey from accepting Black Press's offer on the grounds that it breached a standstill contract, the Globe and Mail reported yesterday.
"I knew they wouldn't win the court case, so I was sure they were going to at least match us," David Black, president of Victoria, British Columbia-based Black Press, said in an interview. "It doesn't surprise me."
Black said he is still interested in buying Osprey but wouldn't say when he might counterbid or at what price.
Quebecor Media spokesman Luc Lavoie and Osprey Chief Executive Officer Michael Sifton didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper by circulation, owns 20 percent of Black Press. The rest is owned by Black.
Quebecor owns 23 daily newspapers, including Journal de Montreal, operates Videotron, Quebec's largest cable-television provider, and manages more than 200 periodicals.
Osprey, based in Markham, Ontario, publishes newspapers including the Kingston Whig-Standard and the Peterborough Examiner, both more than a century old. The company owns 20 dailies and 34 non-dailies.