Glacier Media sells interest in Fundata, acquires Kelowna’s Castanet

Vancouver-based Glacier Media Inc. has announced the sale of its interest in Fundata Canada for $55 million, and its subsequent acquisition of Castanet Media, which operates SOFT 103.9 (CKOO-FM) Kelowna and several digital news sites in B.C.’s Okanagan.

The sale was completed through Glacier Media affiliate GVIC Communications Corp. Glacier provides news, data and analysis in a range of business sectors, including Agriculture, Energy, Mining, Real Estate and Environmental Risk. It owns roughly 160 community newspapers, magazines and websites including The Times Colonist in Victoria, Prince George Citizen, Business in Vancouver, Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Weyburn Review, The Western Producer, Manitoba Co-operator, Grainews, and Real Estate Weekly, in addition to digital site Vancouver is Awesome.

Fundata, which started in the late 1980s as an investment fund information distributor to newspapers and businesses, has evolved into an investment fund data and analytics company. Glacier says it’s selling its interest for a variety of reasons including the ability to reduce leverage and provide capital for acquiring businesses the company can own and operate directly that fit strategically with its operations in data, analytics and intelligence and digital media.

Castanet has been in operation for 18 years. Building on the success of its original Kelowna digital publication, which encompasses community news, business, sports, weather and classifieds, it launched operations in Vernon three years ago and Penticton in 2017. It now boasts monthly page views of 35 million and a staff of 50.

Glacier will pay $22 million for Castanet’s assets and $2 million for its Avenue Radio shares, subject to CRTC approval. Avenue Radio was formed in 2017 when Castanet founder J. Nicholas Frost acquired CJUI-FM from Vista Radio in late 2017. He subsequently received call sign change approval to CKOO-FM. Initially launched as Okanagan Oldies, the station flipped to Soft AC this past January and rebranded to Soft 103.9. 

“Castanet’s growth and market position, as well as the growth of Glacier Digital Media’s operations, demonstrate that a long-term digital business model exists in community media that offers attractive growth in audience development, revenue and profitability,” Glacier Media stated in a press release.

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