Canwest pulls out of Vancouver and Ottawa free papers

CanWest MediaWorks is pulling out of a partnership that publishes the free Metro newspapers in Vancouver and Ottawa.

The two other partners in the papers — Torstar and Metro International SA — will now each own approximately half of the businesses.

The two companies already jointly own the Metro editions in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

From a news release:

“This new ownership structure extends the solid foundation that already exists in the Metro operations in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton,” says Jagoda Pike, President Star Media Group and Chair of the Board of Directors of the English Canada Metro newspapers.

“With a consistent ownership structure now in place in all five English Metro markets, the Metro newspapers will be managed with a single-minded focus on the development and growth of the Metro brand across English Canada.”

CanWest owns the paid dailies in Vancouver and Ottawa, so its withdrawal from Metro will likely deny the free papers any support on content and advertising. This could be good news for readers, though, with Metro becoming a genuine competitor to the paid titles.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.