The following excerpt was sent out from the Chronicle Journal:
A prominent businessman and lawyer who believes the Montreal Gazette needs local ownership has offered to take a stake in the newspaper, but he said Thursday he hasn’t heard back from its owner.
Mitch Garber said he informed management at Postmedia in late January that he would be interested in assembling a group of Montrealers to buy a share of the publication.
“I think that with a local group of owners, whether minority or majority, we would be able to get community support in terms of advertising and subscribers and keep the paper alive, maybe change some of the ways the paper is run, and make sure that the contents continue to be compelling,” he said in an interview.
Garber, who was CEO of PartyGaming Plc, non-executive chairman of Cirque du Soleil, and is a minority owner of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, said the paper’s staff reached out to him as an influential Montrealer after Postmedia announced layoffs last month. He said staff fear the cuts will lead to the end of the publication.
“It’s mostly about the paper not being run locally and now it’s being cut really below the bone and the combination of having foreign owners and less than a skeleton budget and less than a skeleton staff, I think that I share the concern with many — including almost everyone who works at the Gazette — that this is the beginning of the end of the Gazette,” Garber said.
Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey-based hedge fund, holds a majority stake in Postmedia.
Garber said he informed senior management at Postmedia — in writing and by phone — of his interest and decided to go public on Twitter this week when he didn’t hear back.
“If the patient’s going into intensive care, I want to at least have screamed loudly enough for someone to hear,” he said.
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