Quebecor still wants to acquire the six dailies of GCM
The Quebecor press group still wants to acquire the six dailies of Groupe Capitales Médias (GCM), which are on the brink of bankruptcy.
The president of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, argues that his press empire would be the best thing that could happen to six regional dailies threatened to disappear.
“We are well placed. We are probably in the best position “to ensure the survival of these media, commented Mr. Péladeau on Wednesday in a scrum of the press, on the sidelines of his presence before the parliamentary commission that looks into the future of the media.
Quebecor has already been refused, after filing a first acquisition proposal, but does not admit defeat.
“We intend to be in contact with the trustee” in charge of finding a buyer, he confirmed, arguing that his press group could offer newspapers in difficulty all the “industrial logistics” that can ensure their security. revival (distribution network, printing press, the QMI press agency and Quebecor’s “commercial force”).
The trustee’s goal is to find a new buyer before the end of the year. The government has agreed to provide $ 5 million in emergency assistance to help him hold on until then.
At the time of filing his offer, Mr. Péladeau was unaware then that the prospective purchaser would have to deal with a serious unfunded deficit of the employee pension plan, which reached not less than 65 million $.
Despite this, he said he still wants to buy the six dailies, adding that he would not be surprised to learn that the transaction hides other surprises.
“It would not be surprising,” according to him, given the heavy financial record of the company.
Quebecor already owns two daily newspapers, Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec, in addition to TVA, LCN and QUB radio. The concentration of the press would be raised to a higher level, which some would deem unacceptable if Mr. Péladeau’s business added six dailies to his empire.
To this, Mr. Péladeau replies that this is a “false problem”.
“It’s better to have a concentration of the press than no press at all,” he said.
Unlike most of the speakers who came to the parliamentary committee, Mr. Péladeau disagrees with the idea of financial assistance from the government for the media in difficulty.
Press: help claimed
On the contrary, the management of La Presse + came to claim the help of the State for the media.
According to its president, Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, if the Montreal paper does not obtain financial support “structuring” from the government, it is “sustainability” of La Presse + is threatened.
Like others, he agreed that “the media business model must be completely redesigned”.
A few years ago, La Presse + innovated by giving up paper and offering its content for free on a tablet. It has also become a non-profit organization. Management maintains that it was the right way to go.