Transcontinental sells The Guardian, Journal Pioneer

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Transcontinental sells The Guardian, Journal Pioneer

P.E.I.'s two largest newspapers have a new owner.

Transcontinental announced Thursday it had sold all its Atlantic Canadian publications to Saltwire Network, publishers of the Chronicle Herald in Halifax.

That sale includes The Guardian in Charlottetown and Journal-Pioneer in Summerside.

"We weren't really for sale," said TC Media vice president Julia Kamula.

"They had expressed an interest in acquiring publication portfolios in Atlantic Canada, I think really given how well their publications and digital products compliment ours," she explained.

"After a lot of consideration, very careful consideration, we decided to move forward with this transaction, because it's very much in line with our business strategy. " 

Kamula said the decision was more strategic than financial — TC Media is moving more into packaging and focusing a lot on the printing side of its business. 

'No plans for cuts'

About 650 people are employed at the operations included in the sale. Saltwire Network will be making offers to those employees very soon, and all will stay at their current position and compensation rate for now. 

"Certainly today there are no plans for cuts, we are really excited about the properties we've acquired," said Saltwire President Mark Lever. 

"We're going to examine each market on its own merits and each operation to make sure we have the appropriate staff compliment to make us successful going forward." 

Halifax employees still on strike 

The Chronicle Herald is still dealing with employees who have been on strike for more than a year. Lever said he hopes to resolve that soon. 

"I hope that they will see this as as an opportunity that they can come back to work with a bigger organization with a better chance of success going forward and understand that the offer we are offering is a fair one."

Officials with Halifax Typographical Union, which represents the local employees said that this deal is contrary to what the company was saying during negotiation which was that they didn't have the money to meet demands.

Neither Saltwire or Transcontinental wanted to disclose how much the sale was worth.  

Still P.E.I. focused

The sale is effective immediately and includes the sale of 28 brands and web-related properties in all four provinces.

It also includes four printing plants, commercial printing activities in Newfoundland and Labrador, and distribution activities in Atlantic Canada. Lever said it is important that editorial decisions remain with the people on the ground. 

"Our goal here is to give autonomy and authority in the comminutes that we serve. So The Guardian will be you know Charlottetown's paper you know with decisions on editorial content made here, we hope to as a bigger network share and share ideas and ideas that are of importance across the region."

What isn't included in the deal for P.E.I. is the printing plant in Borden-Carleton, which remains in the hands of Transcontinental.

Kamula confirmed that there are not any plans to change operations in Borden-Carleton, and the plant will still print The Guardian and The Journal-Pioneer. 

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