Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Canadian Newspaper Company Looking at Union-Tribune; Would Take Advantage of Strong "Loonie"
Black Press Ltd., which produces newspapers in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, sent its bean counters and press experts to look at the Union-Tribune Friday (Aug. 22). An executive with broad experience in buying and selling media properties led the trip through the Mission Valley building. The visit lasted most of the day. Black Press is owned by David Holmes Black, who is not related to media baron Conrad Black, who was sentenced to prison last year for mail and wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Black Press owns more than 150 papers, mostly in Canada, but including the Akron Beacon Journal, a former Knight Ridder paper that was sold to McClatchy, then sold to Black two years ago. Black also owns the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Copley Press announced it was for sale in late July. A foreign buyer makes sense because of the weak U.S. dollar. The Canadian dollar, called the "loonie," dropped to below 62 cents to the U.S. dollar in January of 2002. Then, as Canada prospered because of agriculture, oil, and other commodities such as gold, the loonie soared to parity with the U.S. dollar in September of last year, and actually inched slightly ahead of the dollar that same month. It is now worth 95.51 U.S. cents. Canadian banks are poring over the books of depressed U.S. banks with acquisition in mind.