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Woodbridge acquires full ownership of The Globe and Mail in deal with BCE

Globe and Mail publisher Phillip Crawley

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Woodbridge Co. Ltd. has taken full ownership of The Globe and Mail, acquiring the 15-per-cent stake in the news organization from BCE Inc. that it did not previously own.

Woodbridge, the private holding company of the Thomson family, and the communications company announced on Friday they had reached a deal. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"We are pleased to complete the acquisition of all of the shares of Canada's pre-eminent national news organization and reconfirm our commitment to the critical role that The Globe and Mail plays in Canada," said David Binet, president and chief executive officer of Woodbridge.

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Through Woodbridge, the Thomson family has been The Globe's majority owner.

The company previously held 85 per cent of the paper's shares, some of which it acquired in 2011 after BCE agreed to take full ownership of broadcasting company CTV Inc. for $1.3-billion.

The newspaper and broadcasting properties had been jointly owned under CTVGlobemedia – a large private media company forged a decade earlier by BCE and the Thomson family under the prior name Bell Globemedia.

Until Friday, BCE, the parent company of Bell Canada, had continued to own 15 per cent of The Globe, and occupied a seat on the newspaper's board of directors.

"We thank Woodbridge for their partnership and support over the years and wish them the very best in taking Canada's national newspaper forward," said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE.

The Globe will keep its governance structure, though its board will no longer include a representative from BCE. In a memo to staff, Phillip Crawley, The Globe's publisher, said the sale will not affect day-to-day operations.

Ownership of Canadian newspaper companies has been consolidating of late, most recently with Quebecor Inc.'s $316-million sale of its English-language Sun papers and digital assets to Postmedia Network Canada Corp., which is publicly traded.

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But several news organizations – including The Globe, the Halifax Chronicle Herald and the Black Press Group Ltd. – have remained privately owned.

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