Toronto Star publisher Jordan Bitove took exclusive control of the paper’s parent company on Thursday as part of an arbitration agreement with co-owner Paul Rivett, according to Torstar Corp., amid tensions between former partners. put an end to the controversy.
In a press release Thursday night, Vitove said that while the two did their best to form a partnership, they were unable to finally resolve the areas of disagreement that surfaced.
Rivett congratulated Bitove on “choosing to own Star and Metroland” and thanked the arbitrator for what he described as a fair and expeditious process.
Torstar Corp. also owns the Metroland newspaper group and local newspapers, including the Hamilton Spectator.
The settlement comes two months after Rivett filed a court order in the Ontario Superior Court seeking to dissolve NordStar Capital Inc., which acquired Torstar for $60 million in 2020.
In his court filing, Rivett said he had “irrevocably” damaged his relationship with Bitove and said the two could no longer work together.
After the application was made public, both parties agreed to move the legal dispute to mediation arbitration.
Rivett claimed that Bitove had changed his mind about a previously agreed plan, failed to provide the Toronto Star with funding, ignored good corporate governance, and ignored his responsibilities.
Rivett also asked the court to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers to administer the property sale to resolve the “deadlock” between the two.
In a September statement responding to Rivett’s allegations, Bitove said it was working to make the company more resilient, accountable and competitive.
“I did this to ensure that the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, continues to deliver the news, opinions and stories that a diverse audience seeks, and the investigative journalism that democracy depends on. “At the same time, we will preserve the star’s incredible legacy and build a brighter world, a stronger future,” he said.
Vitove said he’s focused on building a product around the authoritative journalism that readers demand, and using that demand to build a sustainable business.
“The preferred strategy for some investors is to cut costs radically, bare the product and shrink the newsroom to extract short-term returns for shareholders.”
The two were equal partners of NordStar, which owns online news site iPolitics and sportsbook NorthStar Gaming Inc.
Prior to teaming with Bitove, part of the ownership consortium that built the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), Rivett was president of Fairfax Financial.