Competition Bureau alleges Postmedia and Torstar agreed to close titles ahead of ‘Project Lebron’

The Competition Bureau is alleging that Postmedia Inc. and Torstar Corp. agreed to close titles and not compete with each other in certain regions ahead of a November 2017 deal which saw the two media conglomerates swap 41 newspapers and subsequently close 36 of them.

Court documents filed by the bureau have their lead investigator Pierre-Yves Guay say he believed the corporations “entered into a conspiracy” that would reduce competition in certain markets.

The bureau got a search warrant and say documents obtained in their raid show that during ‘Project Lebron’ — as it was dubbed in Torstar documents — the companies had discussed job cuts ahead of the swaps.

The bureau originally received a complaint from a former sales director of the Orillia Packet & Times, who lost his job when the paper was closed.

Both Torstar and Postmedia deny any wrongdoing and spokespeople says the companies do not believe they are in any contravention of the Competition Act.