NordStar gets court approval for Torstar deal after request for appeal denied

TORONTO - An appeals court has paved the way for NordStar Capital LP to purchase newspaper publisher Torstar Corp. for $60 million.

Divisional Court Justice Michael Penny rejected a request today from rival bidder Canadian Modern Media Holdings Inc. that would have prevented the deal from moving forward.

CMMH had asked for a stay of a Monday ruling from Ontario Superior Court Justice Cory Gilmore, who approved NordStar’s takeover bid.

CMMH claimed Gilmore had made mistakes warranting an appeal of the decision, but Penny says CMMH did not demonstrate there is a serious issue or that they will suffer irreparable harm.

Gilmore sided with Torstar and NordStar for several reasons, including that CMMH had missed a key deadline for presenting its rival offer.

Torstar’s board stood by an amended NordStar offer of 74 cents per share even though CMMH had attempted to raise its bid to 80 cents per share before a shareholder vote.

Gilmore ruled that Torstar’s board had acted properly and noted that NordStar had locked up support of two crucial blocks of shares controlled by a voting trust and Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc.

Under the NordStar plan, Torstar will delist its shares from the Toronto Stock Exchange and its publishing business will continue to be managed by its current executive team.
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