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Today's Big Story

Meet the New Convergence

Same as the old convergence. (But with more zeros.)

By Richard Warnica 6 May 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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What does $18 billion buy you these days? One of the most respected names in news, apparently. Or at the very least, the chance to court it.

Canada’s Thomson Corp., one-time owners of the Globe and Mail, are in talks to buy the Reuters Group, owners of a giant 196-bureau newswire, for a reported $18 billion. The deal is part of what one Globe and Mail reporter called “[a] buying frenzy that is sweeping an industry where no deal seems unfathomable, and all are coming with nine zeroes attached.”

The frenzy includes Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion offer for the parent company of the Wall Street Journal and Microsoft’s rumored $50 billion takeover bid for the Internet’s largest portal, Yahoo. (That rumour was apparently squelched over the weekend.)

The Canadian media world is at the centre of the action. The Thomsons still have significant holdings in the conglomerate that now controls their former flagship paper. Last week, the CRTC signaled that said conglomerate, CTVglobemedia, would be allowed to swallow Chum Ltd. owners of the City TV chain.

Meanwhile, as one Canadian media giant looks to beef up its newswire holdings, another seems poised to end its relationship with Canada’s largest non-profit news producer. CanWest Global, owners of the country’s second largest newspaper chain, added significant staff to their in-house newswire, CNW, over the last year. It now seems almost certain that the largest player in the B.C. media market will sever its relationship with the Canadian Press later this summer.

How that rupture plays out -- for both organizations -- could be a major story to follow this summer. Stay tuned.  [Tyee]

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