Torstar Corp buys 56 stake in digital media company VerticalScope Holdings Inc

TORONTO — Torstar Corp. has bought a 56 per cent stake in digital media company VerticalScope Holdings Inc. for $200 million.VerticalScope owns and operates more than 600 online forums as well as websites including,, and the deal, Torstar acquired ABRY Partners’ minority interest in VerticalScope along with more than a third of the shares held by the continuing shareholders.The publisher of the Toronto Star had been looking for an investment since the sale of its romance novel business, Harlequin, to News Corp last year. The sale produced a pre-tax gain of $224.6 million.“We’ve been assessing opportunities to employ capital that resulted from the Harlequin sale for over a year now,” chief executive David Holland said.“It’s an important step forward in the transformation of Torstar, positioning the company for growth in its more digitally oriented future.”Torstar Corp posts quarterly profit of $20.6 million; revenue falls 9.8% at $244.9 millionTorstar Corp still not a buy despite pullback, cash on hand for dealTorstar said VerticalScope plans to make a distribution to its shareholders later this year that if completed would reduce Torstar’s net investment to approximately $178 million.The deal was announced as Torstar reported a loss attributable to shareholders of $1.1 million or a penny per share for the quarter ended June 30, compared with a profit of $19.7 million or 25 cents per share a year ago.Operating revenue fell to $206.3 million from $225.6 million.Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with the corporate parent company of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse.

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