Quebecor printing unit sees stock jump

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TORONTO -- Shares in Quebec media giant Quebecor's commercial printing division jumped Thursday on speculation that it is close to a deal with bankers to refinance and possibly sell the troubled business.

Stock in Quebecor World rose CAN$0.32 ($0.31), or 33%, to CAN$1.23 ($1.21) on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the Globe and Mail newspaper reported that the Royal Bank of Canada is expected to lead a consortium that will provide $125 million required to refinance the commercial printing giant.

In addition, Quebecor is expected to shortly land a buyer for its struggling commercial printing arm, according to the newspaper.

The liquidity problems at Quebecor World follow parent Quebecor's failure to sell off its European printing operations to Dutch rival RSDB NV in December and the earlier cancellation of a $750 million refinancing plan.

Shares in Quebcor World closed below $1.00 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange after reaching a 52-week high of CAN$17.25 last February.

Quebecor's broadcast arm, Quebecor Media, runs Videotron Ltd., Quebec's largest cable operator; TVA Group, the province's largest French-language over-the-air network; and a range of cable channels.

The newspaper report said that Quebecor has leverage with its bankers because it could potentially hand them large fees if Videotron goes ahead with plans to launch a wireless phone service in 2008.

Executives Quebecor were unavailable for comment at press time.
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