This morning, a growing Canadian publisher of alternative urban media signified that it has sealed the deal and is the new owner of the Georgia Straight.
Ontario-based MediaCentral, otherwise known as Media Central Corporation (CSE: FLYY, FSE: 3AT0), announced in January that it had signed a binding letter of intent with the McLeod family to purchase the 53-year-old urban weekly and its websites, including Straight.com.
The new owner will continue publishing the Georgia Straight every Thursday in print while maintaining and enhancing Straight.com.
"Dan McLeod and his family have built a trusted brand that has championed the West Coast's independent voice for more than 50 years. We are thrilled to add Georgia Straight to the MediaCentral family of brands and are excited to guide this staple of the Vancouver experience towards another 50 years of success," MediaCentral CEO Brian Kalish said in a news release.
"This strategic acquisition is an important next step in our growth plans as we move towards integrating and monetizing this culturally creative and socially innovative group," he added.
The company's goal is to bring 100 million consumers of urban media across North America together under one umbrella and leverage their value across commercial and social verticals.
This vision encouraged long-time publisher Dan McLeod to finally part with his family-owned publication after 53 years at the helm and after receiving numerous offers over the years.
McLeod is the longest-lasting publisher in Canadian history, eclipsing the previous record set by the Toronto Star's Joseph Atkinson (49 years).
"It's exciting that the Georgia Straight has now evolved into one of the founding members of a much larger group of like-minded print and digital publications," McLeod said. "MediaCentral has pledged to carry on the highest ideals of the Straight, along with its Vancouver-centric focus, and including the same team that has produced the paper up until now.
"I look forward to seeing this ambitious group build a new kind of media network while continuing to serve our present readership in new and innovative ways."
The Straight has been an outspoken voice in Vancouver since it was launched at the height of the Vietnam War in 1967. From its earliest days, it promoted greater awareness of environmental issues, including the threat posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions, and helped break down silos to try to unify the arts community.
It was also a pioneer in calling for legalization of cannabis and it published the first LGBT column in Canada, starting in 1970.
McLeod is the only B.C. media figure to have won lifetime achievement awards from both the Jack Webster Foundation and the Western Magazine Awards Foundation.
In addition, he was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame, which earned him a star on Granville Street's Walk of Fame.
MediaCentral paid $1.25 million, including advisory fees, in cash and shares, while assuming certain accrued operating liabilities and no long-term debt.