Nova Scotia

Talks continue to keep media company Saltwire afloat

Talks aimed at keeping Atlantic Canada’s largest media company alive appear to be bearing fruit.

Documents filed on June 19 with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court say negotiations are underway with an unnamed buyer who would keep Saltwire operating.

The company publishes newspapers in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, as well as some online publications.

Saltwire’s largest creditor, Fiera Private Debt Fund, forced the company to seek bankruptcy protection back in March, when its total debts were more than $94 million. Fiera alone was owed more than $32 million.

Since that initial court action, Saltwire has been operating under the Company Creditors Arrangement Act while potential buyers were sought.

Four entities expressed interest in continuing to operate Saltwire, in whole or in part. Some of the potential buyers were only interested in part of the company.

Last Friday, the monitor overseeing the sale and investment solicitation process informed the other potential bidders that their offers were no longer being considered.

None of the potential bidders have been named.

Multiple businesses involved

Other changes have also been made in Saltwire’s operations.

Headline, the company’s sideline for selling promotional material like clothing, has been shut down, throwing six people out of work. Headline was not profitable.

Separate talks are underway to sell Titan, a security firm that Saltwire acquired when it was engaged in a protracted dispute with its unionized newspaper employees.

The monitor said in court documents that the hope is that the sale of Titan will be complete around the same time that Saltwire is sold and that the security company could continue independently. 

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Saltwire also started a parcel delivery service, Door Direct, which uses their existing carrier network. Saltwire officials said in the filing that Door Direct could improve the company’s overall financial viability.

Saltwire owns three properties which used to house the offices of three of its newspapers. There was a building in Yarmouth that was home to the Vanguard, one in Sydney that used to house the Cape Breton Post and the former home of the Telegram in St. John’s. All three buildings are now up for sale.

Fiera has increased the interim financing it is providing Saltwire through this restructuring process to $4.1 million dollars.

The report to court recommends that the deadline for completing all this work be extended to Aug. 9.

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