Montreal, January 16, 2004 – Transcontinental Inc. today announced that 6,955,228 common shares of Optipress Inc. were tendered under Transcontinental's offer of December 11, 2003, representing 99.36% of the 7 million Optipress shares outstanding. Under the terms of the offer, the price is C$8.00 per share in cash, for a total acquisition price of $56 million. Transcontinental's offer was subject to several conditions, all of which have now been met. Transcontinental is enthusiastic about taking control of the operations of Optipress today.
Transcontinental will pay for the shares acquired under the offer by making the required funds available to the depository on January 19, 2004. In the next few days, Transcontinental will, as provided by law, exercise its rights to acquire the Optipress shares that were not tendered under the offer.
Optipress owns 25 weekly and bi-weekly papers as well as 9 printing plants and a network of digital reproduction centres in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. It has annual revenues of about C$75 million, 76% from printing operations and 24% from publishing operations, and has more than 600 employees. Optipress is a public company whose shares have been listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol OPP since July 25, 2002, following the combination of the printing and publishing assets of Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited and Cameron Publications Limited. (For more information, please consult the fact sheet under the “Latest News” subhead at www.transcontinental.com.)
"The Optipress acquisition will allow Transcontinental to extend its network of flyer printing plants to the Atlantic provinces and offer local printing services to our major national retailers," said Serge Bragdon, President of Transcontinental Printing -- Information Products.
François Olivier, Senior Vice President, Newspaper Group, Transcontinental Printing -- Information Products, added: "We already had two newspaper printing plants, one in Halifax and one in Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island. Since Optipress prints its own newspapers, this transaction increases our capacity in the region. This acquisition also extends our network of sheetfed presses to a region in Canada where we had no such operations, which means that we can now print brochures, pamphlets, magazines and annual reports for our customers in the Atlantic provinces and northeastern United States.”
For his part, André Préfontaine, president of Transcontinental Media, said he is pleased with the transaction: "The Optipress newspapers complement our own. As a publisher, we were represented in the Atlantic provinces by our nine dailies. With Optipress, we have acquired 25 weeklies and bi-weeklies. Most of these newspapers serve communities in which we weren’t present before. Today we are truly the leading publisher of local and regional papers in the Atlantic provinces."
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