While Postmedia’s daily newspaper business continues to face strong headwinds from free dailies and growing online migration, its assets and mix of shareholders make it a potential takeover target, according to a report by RBC Capital Markets.
“Although the timing and/or likelihood of a potential transaction are highly uncertain, we believe investors could realize a takeout premium,” analyst Drew McReynolds said in a note to clients. “Potential strategic buyers could include Torstar, Woodbridge, Gesca and Transcontinental given the opportunities for cost synergies (i.e., corporate, procurement, distribution, content sharing, production etc.), particularly in adjacent and/or overlapping geographies.”
Postmedia is the former newspaper division of Canwest, and includes titles such as the National Post and theMontreal Gazette. Postmedia’s secured creditors took control of the company after Canwest filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
Torstar has previously shown interest in Postmedia—submitting a bid in April 2010 when Canwest LP put itself up for sale. The bid was backed by Fairfax Financial Holdings, which holds an investment in Torstar.
“Although we do not believe a major acquisition is a current priority for Torstar, we view Torstar as a logical buyer for Postmedia Network should priorities change and/or the right opportunity arise,” McReynolds said. “We note that with the completed sale of CTVglobemedia, Torstar is in a much stronger financial position than the company was in April 2010.”
One major stumbling block to a bid by Torstar is the valuation gap between the two companies. RBC says Torstar is currently trading at EV/EBITDA multiple of 4.1 versus Postmedia’s 6.6 valuation.
RBC initiated its coverage on Postmedia on Wednesday with an “underperform” rating and a $14 price target.