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Torstar goes to Jordan Bitove in dispute with co-owner

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Toronto Star publisher Jordan Bitove will take sole control of the newspaper’s parent company as part of an arbitration deal with co-owner Paul Rivett, according to media reports citing unnamed sources, bringing to a close a tense dispute between the former partners.

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Torstar Corp. also owns the Metroland newspaper group and local newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator.
Bitove will also retain a significant stake in VerticalScope Holdings Inc., a tech company that owns 1,200 specialty websites.

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The settlement comes two months after Bitove’s business partner Paul Rivett filed an application to the Ontario Superior Court seeking a court order to dissolve NordStar Capital Inc., which purchased Torstar in 2020 for $60 million.

In the court application, Rivett cited “irreparable” damage to his relationship with Bitove and said the pair could no longer work together.

After the application became public, the pair agreed to move their legal dispute to mediation-arbitration.
Rivett claimed Bitove changed his mind about previously agreed-upon plans, failed to provide a budget for the Toronto Star, ignored proper corporate governance and disregarded his responsibilities.
Rivett also asked the court to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers to manage an asset sale to resolve the “impasse” between the two men.

The two men were equal partners in NordStar, which also owns online news site iPolitics and sportsbook NorthStar Gaming Inc. NordStar also has investments in The Canadian Press and Blue Ant Media Inc and is a VerticalScope Inc. shareholder.

Before teaming up with Bitove, who was part of the ownership consortium that built the SkyDome, now the Rogers Centre, Rivett was previously president at Fairfax Financial.


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