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Group led by former Manitoba cabinet minister to buy Winnipeg Sun

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. says it has signed a deal to sell the Winnipeg Sun, the Graphic Leader, and Kenora Miner & News newspapers to the Klein Group Ltd.

Included in the transaction is Postmedia’s Winnipeg commercial print division, all associated digital properties, contracts and other related parts of the businesses.

Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available.

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Postmedia says employees at each of the newspapers are expected to continue in their current roles with no job losses anticipated. It says non-unionized employees will be offered their same job with the Klein Group, while unionized employees will retain their current terms.

Klein Group is headed by former Winnipeg Sun publisher Kevin Klein. Klein was also a Winnipeg city councillor and a Manitoba cabinet minister in the former Progressive Conservative government.

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The deal is scheduled to close on or about June 1, subject to conditions.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said he supports the continuation of local media but expressed concern that Klein was, until the October provincial election, a partisan politician.

“Given the heavy, recent partisan involvement of Mr. Klein, I think a lot of Manitobans are probably going to be keeping a careful eye on whether there is that balanced coverage that supports democratic ideals,” Kinew said.

“I always try to be an optimist. However given Mr. Klein’s involvement in a very negative, ugly (election) campaign last year, I’ve got to say I’m skeptical.”

Klein rejected Kinew’s comment.

“It’s disrespectful to the staff that are there. They’re professional journalists,” Klein said.

“We are going to be counting, obviously, on their credibility. We are going to want them to put together the best news stories possible, to provide facts. That’s what people are looking for.”

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Klein has been touted as a possible contender for the leadership of the Tories. On Monday, he didn’t rule out a run but said he is focused on the news business.

“I have not made a commitment to running for leadership and … obviously, my life has changed in the sense that we have a very big opportunity today to get back into the world that I once was involved in.”

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