Will he or won’t he?
Sell his shares, we mean: We already knew billionaire businessman Pierre-Karl Péladeau was running for the Parti Québecois – he made that clear on Sunday after denying it multiple times, as recently as a week earlier.
But on Monday the confusion was whether Péladeau, who stepped down as chair of Hydro-Québec and chair of Quebecor Inc. to join the political race, would or would not sell his shares in the gargantuan company he’s grown over decades.
So just what does the new candidate for St.-Jerome control with those shares? Here’s a very brief rundown:
Company: Vidéotron – Quebec’s largest (and Canada’s third-largest) cable service provider, with internet, cable and telephone arms.
Customers: 1.8 million cable customers, 1.5 million digital service subscribers, 478,000 mobile phone customers and over 1.3 million households with cable telephone service (as of Sept. 2013).
Cash: Reported a combined revenue growth of about $32.7 million in June 2013.
Company: Sun Media Corporation – Canada’s largest newspaper publisher by number of titles.
Content: Dozens of dailies and 200-odd community newspapers, guides and other publications; provides various other commercial printing and similar services for flyers and magazines. Newspapers include Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Journal de Montreal, Journal de Quebec and former Osprey publications, Closed 11 papers last year and sold another 74.
Cash: Has cut about 1,500 positions since 2008. Reported a decrease in revenue of about $189 million in their Nov. 2010 quarterly report, including a $2.4 million decrease in circulation revenues. Did not break out revenue from general Quebecor revenue after 2010 but Quebecor Media posted a news media operating income of $25.8 million, a 14.7 per cent increase from the previous year.
Company: TVA Group Inc., another subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc.
Content: Quebec’s largest network of private French-language television, a film distributor and, with more than 50 publications, the province’s largest distributer of French-language magazines. Among these are 7 Jours, Derniere Heure and Star Systeme.
Cash: In its fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2013, TVA Group Inc. reported a profit of $8.3 million, a slight decrease of about $500,000 compared to the same time the previous year.
Company: Sun News Network, English-language news channel
Content: “Hard news, straight talk” and a strident nationalist tone that would seem out of keeping with Quebec sovereignty.
Cash: Losing about $17-million a year, money it claims it could make up with a little mandatory carriage help from the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (it ended up getting half of what it wanted: Carriers must offer it but aren’t obliged to include it).
Also under Quebecor Media:
Online news site canoe.ca; printing and flyer distribution services; Nurun, a design and technology consultancy; BlooBuzz, a video game development studio