Two large B.C.-based publishing companies have made another deal to reduce how much they must compete with one another.
Glacier Media Inc. has announced that it's bought the Tri-City News, Burnaby NewsLeader, Richmond Review, and New Westminster NewsLeader from Black Press.
The publicly traded Glacier already owns the Coquitlam Now, Burnaby Now, Richmond News, and Royal City Record.
The transaction gives Glacier a monopoly over English-language community papers in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster. This is in addition to its monopoly over English-language community papers on the North Shore and in South Delta.
Glacier also owns the Vancouver Courier, the Westender, and Business in Vancouver, among other properties.
Meanwhile, the privately owned Black Press is taking over control of the Surrey Now, Langley Advance, and Maple Ridge Times from Glacier. Black Press already owns the Surrey–North Delta Leader, the Langley Times, and the Maple Ridge–Pitt Meadows Times.
There's no word on whether this deal will have any impact on employees at any of the newspapers.
In addition, Black Press bought Glacier's community newspapers on Vancouver Island and will take control of them on March 2, 2015. Glacier has announced that the proceeds from this sale will go to pay down the company's debt.
According to Glacier's balance sheet, it had $76.2 million in long-term debt as of September 30, 2014. As of this writing, Glacier Media shares were trading at $1.58, up nearly two percent on the day.
Meanwhile, Glacier retains ownership of Victoria's daily newspaper, the Times-Colonist.
In October 2013, Glacier and Black Press swapped papers to give Glacier greater control over community-newspaper markets on the North Shore and in South Delta and Vancouver. In return, Black Press received the Chilliwack Times and the Abbotsford-Mission Times.
In effect, it appears as though the two publishing giants are dividing up the southwestern B.C. market, with Glacier taking control over the western section of the Lower Mainland and Black Press being left with most of Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.
Over the first nine months of 2014, Glacier reported net income of $10.9 million on revenues of $208.7 million. That's a significant increase over net income of $2.6 million on revenues of $219.5 million in the first three quarters of 2013.
Today's deal comes a day after Premier Christy Clark approved construction of the Site C dam along the Peace River.
Black Press owner David Black has long advocated for this project, which will result in an enormous expenditure of public funds in the B.C. Interior, where he owns many newspapers.