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Quebecor headquarters in Montreal
Quebecor headquarters in Montreal
(Robert J. Galbraith For The Globe and Mail)

Caisse forced to bail on weak Quebecor investment

Quebec’s big pension plan manager is bailing on a chunk of one of its most contentious and politically driven deals of the past few decades – and booking a meagre return that is a reminder of the cost of putting provincial economic development before profits.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s decision to sell just under half its 45-per-cent stake in Quebecor Media Inc. marks the beginning of the end of a saga that began when it teamed up with Quebecor Inc. in 2000 to defeat Ontario rival Rogers Communications Inc. in the takeover battle for cable company Vidéotron Ltée. Quebecor Inc. is buying some shares from the Caisse, and Quebecor Media is buying back some stock for cancellation. The total value is $1.5-billion, and for the Caisse, the return is unimpressive.