The Canadian Press
Published Monday, October 3, 2022 2:48PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 3, 2022 7:51PM EDT
TORONTO – Torstar Business partners Paul Rivett and Jordan Bitove have agreed to move their legal dispute to mediation-arbitration following “productive discussions” between the two sides.
A brief hearing was held Monday after Rivett filed an application in Ontario Superior Court last month to seek a court order to shut down the media company, saying the damage was “irreparable.” correction” to his relationship with Bitove.
Rivett and Bitove are equal partners in Nordstar Capital Inc., an investment firm that bought it Torstar in 2020 for $60 million, and will manage all of its assets, including the Toronto Star newspaper.
Lawyers for Rivett told the court on Monday that the case was the result of “two different views” on how to navigate the business amid challenges facing the newspaper industry across the board. in the world, it is said that there is a “corporate divorce” between the two former friends and business partners.
They said the two parties will have to decide who will run the company, but there is no need to go public.
The lawyers representing Bitove mentioned these facts.
The start date for the mediation-arbitration process, which remains confidential, was not confirmed at the time of the hearing.
Rivett’s motion for court intervention will now be suspended while the action proceeds.
In a court filing filed Sept. 1, Rivett claims Bitove changed his mind on previously approved plans and was unable to provide funding to the Toronto Star, which acted as a publisher, ignored proper corporate governance, and disregarded his responsibilities to the Torstar and Nordstar.
In the filing, he also asked the court to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an asset sale to resolve the “problem” between the two parties and said liquidating Nordstar was the only option. to create a clear path for the companies under its umbrella. Metroland Media Group and NorthStar Gaming Inc.
“On the management style of the companies, applicants, employees of the management companies, and TorstarAll media readers will suffer irreparable harm if immediate relief is not provided,” the statement said.
In a statement last week, Bitove said he has “no regrets” about the way he runs the newspaper business and his role in making the company stronger, more accountable and more competitive. .
“I did this so that the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, could continue to bring the news, views and information that a diverse audience is looking for, as well as investigative reporting that is trusted. our democracy – and uphold The Star’s legacy and create transparency. , stronger in the future,” he said.
Bitove said he’s focused on creating a product that focuses on the authentic journalism that readers want, while using that appeal to build a sustainable business.
“The playbook that favors some investors is to cut costs to the ground, strip profits, and shrink newsrooms to extract short-term benefits for shareholders,” he said. he said in his speech.
Last week, Unifor, which represents more than 10,000 media workers, said in a statement it was “disappointed” by the court’s request.
“(The) shocking news was very disrespectful to the hard-working staff of the Toronto Star who felt blindsided by this news – or not,” said Unifor president Lana Payne.
“Journalists and media workers often risk their lives to provide the public with the truth and the best they can do.”
Unifor Local 87-M represents many Toronto Star employees.
Before working with Bitove, he was part of the leadership team that built the SkyDome, now the Rogers Center, and Rivett was the former president of Fairfax Financial.
This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on October 3, 2022.
Torstar which holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with subsidiaries of the Globe and Mail and La Presse of Montreal.