The Classic Earmarks

Article Excerpt

TORSTAR CORP. $20 (Toronto symbol TS.B; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; SI Rating: Above average) is a Canadian leader in newspaper publishing. This industry lives off ad sales and faces growing competition, internally and from the Internet. Torstar moved to cut its reliance on newspapers last year, when it paid $283 million for a 20% stake in Bell Globemedia, which controls CTV, specialty TV channels and The Globe and Mail. Bell Globemedia later arranged to buy rival TV and radio broadcaster CHUM Ltd. Torstar agreed to invest an extra $100 million in Bell Globemedia, to maintain its 20% interest. This is a big commitment for Torstar, which earned just $0.33 a share (total $25.6 million) in the second quarter of 2006, down 28.3% from $0.46 a share ($36.1 million) a year earlier. Weak ad revenue at the flagship Toronto Star offset gains at its community newspapers. Revenue fell 3.1%, to $390.3 million from $402.9 million. Investors are losing patience with Torstar and other…

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