The story can now be told.
I am sure that many of the readers of the Windsor Square have wondered why Ian Paulson has not been writing as much as he has in the past. It can now be revealed that for the past several months he has been “on assignment” working on a project to structure a merger between the Windsor Star, Windsor’s leading daily newspaper (actually Windsor’s only daily newspaper) and the Windsor Square, Windsor’s multi-faceted news and opinion portal.
The merger will be announced today, April 1, 2011. This is not a buyout the Joint Press Release will state today but rather a merger of equals.
Mr. Paulson has become a regular on Highway 401 between Windsor and Toronto. He has taken that route many times in some of the worst weather imaginable over the past few months in order to try to achieve a union between the two organizations in the best interest of the people of Windsor.
It can now be reported that the visit of Postmedia guru, Paul Godfrey, to Windsor the other day was not merely to address the troops at the Star but also to ink the deal with Mr. Paulson. Before doing so, Mr. Godfrey wanted to ensure that the Senior staff of the Star would remain in their jobs if the merger was to take place.
Mr. Godfrey was greatly encouraged by the fact that everyone unanimously agreed that the merger made sense and that they would carry on in their positions. As one leading Star Editorial Board member said,
“What choice did we have? There are no openings available in the newspaper world these days.”
While the details of the merger will not be completely disclosed, the deal is to be an all-cash one. The Square principals refused to accept any shares of Postmedia as part of the merger price. The appropriate noncompetition agreements will be entered into as well.
It is understood that the Square principals will be receiving payments totalling in the eight figures (excluding decimal points of course) as part of the arrangement to enter into the merger. It is expected that one of the Square principals will become a Star Editorial Board member and that someone from the Postmedia group will take on a similar position with the Square.
The Star and the Square will remain as separate and distinct entities. The Square writers will continue on, writing exactly as they have been to date with no editorial interference from Postmedia.
There is a secret protocol to the merger that will outline in detail what is expected of the Square backers to advance the position of Postmedia in the new online world. Mr. Paulson was able to present a business case to the Postmedia Board that got them so excited that Mr. Godfrey was instructed to enter into merger negotiations forthwith.
A press conference will be held today at noon at the Windsor Square world headquarters to announce the merger formally. A copy of the press release is attached.