Monday, January 02, 2012

Torstar buys a piece of Blue Ant, which bought a piece of Quarto, and so on...

Last summer, Blue Ant Media Inc. bought a 15% stake in Quarto Communications, the publishers of Cottage Life, Explore, Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada. It has an option to raise its stake to 25%. And almost immediately, Quarto plunged ahead with a television project carrying the Cottage Life brand.
Blue Ant is controlled by Michael MacMillan, the former head of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. and he is clearly on a roll building a media company. It recently entered into an agreement to buy High Fidelity TV, which in turn owns four premium HD channels: Oasis HD,  eqhd, radX, and HIFI HD. It also owns a majority stake in GlassBOX, which in turn owns Bite TV, Aux TV and the Travel + Escape channel. 
Now Torstar has bought a 25% stake in Blue Ant.  According to a story in Marketing, David Holland of Torstar said that the company viewed the investment as a strategic way to further diversify its media assets.
“We see the potential in Michael’s vision for a new kind of media company in Canada,” said Holland. 
So, by our math, Torstar nominally now owns 6.25% of Cottage Life et al. Ah, what a complicated web -- one that is typical of the kinds of convergence we will be seeing more of in 2012.

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