On July 31, 2000, Alcalde & Fay–and their lobbyist Vicki Iseman–terminated their lobbying activities for CanWest, a big Canadian media company. That day, CanWest had achieved the goal Alcalde & Fay had been assisting with: the acquisition of much of Conrad Black’s media empire in Canada.
Iseman and her colleagues had been lobbying the FCC, the House of Representatives, and the Senate (including John McCain, with whom McCain’s advisors believed Iseman had an inappropriate relationship at the time) to win approval for the foreign purchase of American broadcast companies–that is, Conrad Black’s properties, which were headquartered in Chicago.
Iseman’s role in the deal is significant for a couple of reasons. First, the deal greatly contributed to the consolidation of media in Canada:
In the largest media deal in Canadian history, CanWest Global Communications, a company that started 20 years ago with a North Dakota television station, is to pay $2.36 billion for dominant dailies in 8 of Canada’s 10 provinces. Mr. Black is to gain a seat on the CanWest board and is to become the second-largest shareholder, after the family of the company founder, Israel H. Asper.
”The borders are gone, we have to grow,” Mr. Asper, Global’s chairman, told a news conference in Toronto today, comparing his acquisition to Tribune Media’s recent purchase of The Los Angeles Times. ”We don’t intend to be one of the corpses lying beside the information highway.”
Mr. Black said in a statement that his company, Hollinger International, ”believes this intimate association with a highly successful telecaster built by an entrepreneurial spirit compatible with Hollinger is the best possible assurance of the strength of the newspaper franchises.”
Like Conrad Black before them, the family running CanWest exerts a great deal of editorial control–going so far as to distribute corporate editorials to be run in all their properties.