Quebecor claims rights over sale of embattled Just For Laughs comedy festival

MONTREAL — Media giant Quebecor Inc. is claiming the embattled Montreal-based Just For Laughs company cannot be sold without its consent.

Quebecor (TSX QBR.B) filed a request for an injunction in Quebec Superior Court on Wednesday demanding its 2012 partnership deal with the comedy festival be respected.

It claims the agreement gives it a right of first refusal regarding the sale of the company.

Quebecor says it has the right to buy the festival and that if it rejects the asking price, Just for Laughs cannot be sold to a third party for less.

Gilbert Rozon, founder and majority shareholder of Just For Laughs, announced he was selling the company after becoming the subject of numerous allegations last year of sexual harassment and abuse.

The sale has been entrusted to RBC Capital Markets, which is the target of Quebecor’s lawsuit.

Quebecor claims to have injected more than $45 million into various partnerships and sponsorships in Just For Laughs since it signed the 2012 agreement.

The president of Just For Laughs, Guylaine Lalonde, said in a statement the company will contest Quebecor’s legal move, which it described as “clearly ill-founded.”

She said the sale process is proceeding as normal.

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