TORONTO -- Media Central Corp. Inc. says it has agreed to buy Toronto weekly Now Magazine for as much as $2 million in the first step of a plan to consolidate the alternative publication landscape.

The startup media company says the magazine will provide it with millions of annual readers through its 500,000 weekly readers and a website that sees more than 729,000 unique visits a month.

Media Central CEO Brian Kalish, whose recent experience is in the speciality finance and health care industries, says Now Magazine is just the first of many alternative publications the company plans to buy over the next five years as it looks to unite high-quality publications with data-driven advertising.

Now Magazine co-founder Alice Klein says it's exciting for the magazine to enter the next stage of its evolution with a young and ambitious media company that is committed to maintaining its independent voice while realizing its potential for growth.

Klein founded the magazine with Michael Hollett in 1981 with a stated vision around social transformation, with special commitments to economic, personal and ecological well-being based on sharing and empowerment for all.

The publication is the second for Toronto-based Media Central, which was founded earlier this year and launched the cannabis-focused online site CannCentral in September.

The company says it won't make immediate changes to the Now brand or editorial team, but that it plans to add new content categories and integrate the publication with CannCentral.

The cash deal for Now Magazine includes a $1-million payment contingent on Now achieving some metrics within a year of the deal closing. In Now's most recent full year it reported a loss of $834,352 before deductions on revenue of $4.15 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2019.