Newspaper group launches co-op bid to save titles

Local people and businesses are being urged to donate to keep six local dailies in circulation as co-ops

Staff at failing Canadian newspaper business Groupe Capitales Médias (GCM) have launched a fundraising campaign to save their titles as co-ops.

The team work on six daily papers and their campaign, ‘Je coopère pour mon journal’ (I co-operate for my newspaper), is seeking financial support from employees, local people and businesses in their communities. 

If the plan succeeds, each title would be established as a separate co-op, with a national umbrella co-op to optimise certain operations, achieve economies of scale and develop tech for the digital transformation.

Groupe Capitales Médias ran into financial difficulties due to falling advertising revenues – and received a CA $5m (£3m) bail out from the Quebec government in August. Trustee PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has called for expressions of interest from those wanting to acquire some or all of the press groups to save them from creditors. 

The employee-backed co-operative project is led by a committee composed of Groupe Capitales Médias executives and representatives from the newspapers: Le Soleil (Quebec), Le Nouvelliste (Trois-Rivieres), Le Droit (Ottawa-Gatineau), La Tribune (Sherbrooke), La Voix de l’Est (Granby), Le Progres and Le Quotidien (both Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean).

The committee is submitting a bid to PricewaterhouseCoopers, supported by a five-year business plan.

Interested parties have until 25 October to submit bids. The trustee is expected to submit the best offer to the Superior Court of Quebec no later than 6 November.