March 3, 2015 Last Updated 8:04 am

Competition Bureau clears acquisition of Transcontinental titles by TVA Group

Google to break up Google+ into two products – Photos and Streams, with former Yahoo manager Bradley Horowitz pegged to run both new businesses

In the U.S., an acquisition of a magazine group for $55.5 million would be considered small potatoes, but in Canada such an acquisition – especially if it involves The Hockey News – will have to the Competition Bureau.

THN-cover-W-180Yesterday, the Competition Bureau did just that, saying it has issued a No Action Letter, “which clears the way for TVA Group’s proposed acquisition of Transcontinental’s consumer magazine portfolio and various related assets.”

“The Bureau concluded that this transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition due to, among other things, the presence of effective remaining competitors in all overlapping genres of magazines and the ability of advertisers to reach the same demographics through other magazines and media,” the agency said in a statement.

TVA Group, majority owned by Quebecor Media, will be picking up some of Canada’s leading magazines with the deal. In addition to The Hockey News, Transcontinental publishes Canadian Living, Style At Home, Elle Canada and Elle Québec, Les Affaires and Coup de Pouce among others. The publisher has over a dozen titles inside the Apple Newsstand, and has consistently chosen to produce native digital editions.

John Catsimatidis, the owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, may be looking to acquire the , according to the competing tabloid, the New York Post, as well as The New York Times. Both papers labeled Catsimatidis a billionaire, the Post added “maverick”.

The Post also accused Catsimatidis, who ran for major in 2013 as a Republican, of trying to “slip pricey biofuels mandate into” the state’s budget. Catsimatidis, it seems, also owns the energy company United Metro Energy Corp.

Let the games, between two unprofitable tabloids, officially begin. (Not that they have ever really stopped.)

As a side note: this is the second media story in two days that The New York Times picked up from the Post. It was good to see that today they linked to the first story from Monday. Maybe the Times has a 24-hour rule – we’ll link to your story, but only after a day has passed.

Ask any VC about how hard it is to create another Facebook and they will tell you that they have spent millions trying to find the next monster social network. Many people, myself included, think the quest has sucked out new funding for digital media ventures, as VCs gamble on hitting it big.

Google, of course, has tried with Google+, but the results have been disappointing, to say the least. Last night the word was that Google would be breaking up Google+ into two parts: Photos and Streams. Obviously, that is easy to do when you don’t have billions of users worldwide.

Horowitz-150The new Google+ entities will be run by Bradley Horowitz, who confirmed the move – where else – but on Google+:

Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true — I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products! It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.

Horowitz’s new title is VP of Photos and Streams, Google. Previously, he was Vice President of Product Management after joining Google from Yahoo in 2007. Horowitz attended the University of Michigan and MIT, growing up (like me) in the Detroit area.

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