On November 10, 2000, Hollinger Inc., Hollinger International Inc. and Hollinger Canadian Newspapers, Limited Partnership (collectively “Hollinger”) entered into an agreement to sell all of the outstanding shares of UniMedia Company to Gesca Ltd., a subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada (Power). Power, a Montreal-based company whose flagship newspaper is Montreal’s La Press, is buying Quebec’s Le Soleil, Chicoutimi’s Le Quotidien and Ottawa’s LeDroit, in addition to fifteen weeklies and three printing plants. The acquisition will give Gesca Ltd. control over roughly 49 per cent of the French-language daily newspaper circulation in Quebec.
Hollinger also completed the sale of its religious publications business, operated through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Les Editions Novalis Inc., and a division of UniMedia, to Bayard Canada Presse Inc., which is owned by the Congregations of Augustinians of the Assumption. The editorial content for the publications is provided by St. Paul University under a licensing agreement.
Acting for Hollinger was a team from Stikeman Elliott’s Montreal office that included Peter O’Brien, Victor Salvaggio, Frederic Harvey, Luc Bernier and Nicolas Beugnot. Rita lc de Santis, Claude Jodoin and Sebastien Savage of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (previously Goodman Phillips & Vineberg) represented Gesca. Acting for Bayard on the Novalis transaction were Christine Marsan, Jules Charette and Sandro Cellucci of Ogilvy Renault. Pierre Richard of Lang Michener in Ottawa represented St. Paul University.