Co-owner of the Toronto Star, Paul Rivett has legally moved to dissolve the newspaper’s parent company, Torstar.
Rivett described an erosion of his relationship with partner Jordan Bitove in a filing to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice earlier this month and called for an asset sale to wind up the company.
“Rivett and Bitove have fundamentally different and irreconcilable views,” his lawsuit alleges. “Bitove has ignored Nordstar’s agreed-to prime objective that Nordstar’s business be carried out in common with a view to profit.”
In the court filing, Rivett claims Bitove changed his mind about previously agreed upon plans, failed to provide a budget at the Toronto Star, which he oversees as the publisher, ignored proper corporate governance and disregarded his responsibilities to Torstar and Nordstar.
Rivett has asked the court to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers to manage an asset sale to resolve the “impasse” between the two parties and says dissolving Nordstar is the only way to create a clear path forward for the companies under its umbrella, which also include Metroland Media Group and NorthStar Gaming Inc.
“Given the operational state of the companies, the applicants, employees of the controlled companies, and Torstar’s news readers all stand to suffer irreparable harm if interim relief is not granted,” the filing said.
Bitove, on his part, continues to be dedicated to the Star and to investigative journalism.
“In an intensely competitive media landscape that has and will continue to experience radical transformation, there are two schools of thought on how to be successful,” Bitove said in a written statement.
“The preferred playbook of some investors is to cut costs to the bone, strip the product bare, and shrink newsrooms to extract short-term benefit for shareholders. The approach favoured by those of us who believe in the vital role of the media in a strong and vibrant society is to build a product centred on the trusted journalism that readers demand. And to use that demand to build a sustainable business.”