Torstar owner files lawsuit to dismantle NordStar


One of the partners in the company that controls the Toronto Star has asked the courts to break the partnership and order the auction of his assets.

The lawsuit, led by Paul Rivett and his holding company Tevir Investments Inc., seeks a court order to dissolve NordStar Capital, the partnership created by Rivett and Jordan Bitove to buy Torstar in 2020.

In the application, filed Sept. 2, the relationship between Rivett, chairman and co-owner of Torstar, and Bitove, publisher of the Toronto Star and co-owner of Torstar, is described as “irrevocably altered.”

“There is a total standoff between Rivett and Bitove. … They can no longer work together,” the app reads.

Neither Bitove nor Rivett responded to a request for comment.

Under a draft court order filed with Rivett’s lawsuit, the two parties would each have a chance to bid for NordStar’s assets, either as a whole or on a piecemeal basis. If neither is interested in a particular asset, the draft ordinance proposes selling it at public auction.

The timing of a potential auction was not immediately clear.

According to an online database, no hearing has been scheduled and no order has yet been issued.

John Carswell, president of Canso Investment Counsel, which helped finance NordStar’s $60 million acquisition of Torstar in 2020, did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Rivett’s request, NordStar is currently in breach of a debt agreement and Rivett wanted to sell some of the company’s real estate to pay it off. Bitove reportedly refused to sell the property. The request did not specify whether the debt agreement was with Canso or another lender.

Rivett’s application also indicates that Bitove objected to some cost-cutting measures he would have initially agreed to. The petition also asked the court to prevent Torstar from laying off certain « senior and indispensable » employees.

None of the claims in the request have been proven in court and according to an online legal database, no response from Bitove has yet been filed.

Bitove and Rivett have come together to buy Torstar in 2020, in a deal worth $60 million. They won a competing $58 million bid from Canadian Modern Media Holdings, a consortium including tech executive brothers Matthew and Tyler Proud, and financial industry veteran Neil Selfe.

Before teaming up with Bitove to buy Torstar, Rivett was president of Fairfax Financial. Bitove is a prominent philanthropist, chief marketing officer and member of the Bitove family, who helped bring the NBA to Toronto.

In addition to publishing several daily newspapers, including the Toronto Star, NordStar also controls a number of online properties, including NorthStar Bets, an online gambling company.



Back to top button