UPDATE 3-Postmedia to buy Sun Media assets, create dominant Canadian newspaper chain

Mon Oct 6, 2014 5:39pm EDT
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(Adds comments from competition law experts, background, union and political reaction)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO Oct 6 (Reuters) - Postmedia Network said on Monday it will buy Quebecor Inc's Sun Media newspaper assets for C$316 million ($282 million) in a deal that would give a single publisher control of most of the major English-language dailies in Canada.

The agreement, likely to be closely scrutinized by antitrust authorities, would transform the country's newspaper landscape, making Postmedia the owner of competing major local dailies in cities such as Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary.

The deal would bring some 175 newspapers and publications, including the Sun's flagship assets - the Ottawa , Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary Sun newspapers - as well as the London (Ontario) Free Press into the Postmedia fold. Postmedia said the deal will position it to better compete with foreign-based digital offerings.

Postmedia, already home to the National Post, the Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette and other Canadian publications, would also gain control of the 24 Hours commuter dailies in Toronto and Vancouver, along with a host of other community dailies and weeklies.

Despite the huge ownership concentration resulting from the deal, analysts downplayed competition concerns, noting there is proof of increased competition in the business from online and free daily operators.