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Canada's Torstar Corp. Buys Minority Stake in Blue Ant Media

The $22.7 million deal for a 25 percent stake in Michael MacMillan's media shingle gets the newspaper giant back into Canadian broadcasting.

TORONTO - Canadian publisher Torstar Corp. is to acquire a 25 percent stake in domestic broadcaster Blue Ant Media for $22.7 million.

The deal marks a return to broadcasting for Torstar after it sold a minority stake in CTV, Canada’s top-rated broadcaster, to phone giant BCE.

Blue Ant Media is led by Michael MacMillan, a former CEO of Alliance Atlantis Communications until he cashed out in 2007.

MacMillan has since returned to broadcaster with his Blue Ant Media earlier this year acquiring a controlling interest in GlassBOX Television, and a minority interest in Quarto Communications.

Also Wednesday, Blue Ant Media unveiled a deal to acquire Canadian broadcaster High Fidelity HDTV Inc. and its four premium high definition channels - Oasis HD, eqhd, radX and HIFI.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Blue Ant Media will pick up an initial 29.9 per cent stake in High Fidelity HDTV, with the 70.1 percent stake to be acquired after the deal received regulatory approval from the CRTC.

U.S. private equity firm Providence Equity Capital Markets will help Blue Ant Media finance its High Fidelity HDTV acquisition.

"We view the investment in Blue Ant Media as strategic, providing Torstar with the opportunity to further diversify our Canadian media asset base" David Holland, president and CEO of Torstar, said Wednesday.