The Board of Directors of Torstar, the company that publishes Canada’s largest daily newspaper, the Toronto Star, has agreed to be sold to NordStar Capital – a firm run by entrepreneurs Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett, in a deal worth approximately $52 million. Basically a print and digital publishing company, Torstar runs newspapers and websites across the country, including the Toronto Star and thestar.com.
“While we have loved the company and are immensely proud of it, the time has come to pass the torch,” said John Honderich, former Publisher of the Toronto Star and the Chair of Torstar’s Board of Directors. “We hope the sale will benefit Torstar in the years ahead and is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the company. We are delighted to know that the new owners have pledged to build on Torstar’s legacy of quality journalism, and to promote the Atkinson Principles at the Toronto Star.”
In an article published by the Toronto Star, Bitove said: “We believe in news. With this transaction we can ensure a future for world-class journalists and world-class journalism befitting the paper’s storied history. We are committed to investing in the news business, along with preserving the Atkinson Principles, as fairness and accuracy will continue to guide the papers’ prevailing value system….and we are not taking the Star in any different political direction than where it is today.” Founded in 1892, Joseph E. Atkinson became the newspaper’s first editor in December of 1899., when it was known as The Evening Star. His task was to save a faltering newspaper that competed in a then conservative city with six other daily newspapers. Atkinson succeeded successfully in turning the fortunes of the newspaper around, and by 1913, it had the largest circulation of any Toronto newspaper. He continued to run the Toronto Star until his death in 1948 at the age of 82.
“Since its inception as The Evening Star, The Star has been the voice of this city. As Canada’s largest daily newspaper, it has fulfilled a vital civic role as an outlet for expert opinion and what’s trusted as true,” Rivett added. Bitove and Rivett also said that former Ontario Premier David Peterson will be Vice Chair of the company, which they intend to take private. Current Torstar CEO John Boynton will remain in his current role. The deal was approved by Torstar’s Board of Directors by a significant majority. However, the purchase must still be officially approved at a meeting of Torstar shareholders in mid-July.