Group seeks to buy National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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A group of bidders including former Canadian senator Jerry Grafstein said Monday it is preparing to make an offer for three major Canwest newspapers, the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen and the flagship National Post.
The consortium of investors also includes former Global TV executive and Montreal Star editor Raymond Heard and writer and broadcaster Beryl Wajsman.
"I'm a believer in the future of newspapers," Grafstein said in a telephone interview.
"We believe that there's a strong role for Canadian newspapers in every community. We think they should be locally owned and controlled and we have very interesting and important ideas about how to generate attention and interest on the Internet to support these newspapers."
The group said it has "received strong financial commitments" and is in the process of filing a bid to buy the three dailies. It hopes to begin its "due diligence" investigation into the papers' operating data within the next few weeks.
"Each newspaper has a loyal and interested readership which the consortium is confident can be broadened and deepened," the trio said in a joint statement.
Canwest Global Communications Corp. (TSXV:CGS) placed many of its media properties under protection from creditors last year and announced last week an auction process for buyers interested in its newspaper and television assets.
Each of the leaders in the latest bid has played a prominent role in Canadian media. Grafstein was a founder of Citytv in Toronto, while Heard worked as editor at the London Observer News Service on top of his roles at Global and the Montreal Star.
Wajsman is editor of The Suburban, Quebec's biggest English-language weekly, as well as the bilingual political commentary weekly The Metropolitain and also hosts a radio show.
Canwest launched the first stage of the sales process for its newspaper assets just over a week ago, and several prominent media companies have been pegged as potential bidders, including Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B), owner of the Toronto Star and more than 100 smaller newspapers.
Another bid is being arranged by Paul Godfrey, chief executive of the Post, and a group of investors, sources close to Canwest have said.

Organizations: Canwest, National Post, Montreal Gazette Montreal Star Ottawa Citizen Citytv London Observer News Service The Suburban Torstar Corp. TSX Toronto Star

Geographic location: Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec

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