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Quebecor in talks to renew Economist contract

The Economist has given Quebecor World notice that it may want to opt out of its printing contract when the agreement expires in September.

No concrete decisions have yet been made, and both companies are in talks to extend the contract. The contract would have been automatically renewed had The Economist not given notice.

“They’re giving us notice that they may not want to renew, but both companies are speaking to each other and working together to continue the relationship,” explained Tony Ross, VP of communications for Quebecor World. “I expect that they will continue to be our customer for many years to come.”

A spokesperson for The Economist declined to comment.

Quebecor World has not challenged The Economist’s decision. The printing company filed for bankruptcy protection in January of this year. Under bankruptcy rules, contract changes are frozen until debtor claims are resolved, so The Economist had to ask a US judge for permission to give its notice.

Just last month, Quebecor lost its contract with Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers’ more than 70 titles include Chatelaine, Maclean’s and Canadian Business, went on to sign a six-year, $210 million agreement with Transcontinental Inc.

Quebecor has, however, reported winning and renewing other contracts worth $75 million — key to maintaining the company’s cash flow as it restructures.

The Economist has held a contract with Quebecor since 1999. The magazine reported North American circulation of 720,882 as of December 2007.

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