By Jon Robinson
The board of Winnipeg-based media conglomerate, Canwest Global Communications Corp., placed its prime business units, including the National Post newspaper and Global Television, into the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
Announced today, the move quickly followed another announcement of Canwest entering into a recapitalization agreement with a key group of creditors, what the company calls an “Ad Hoc Committee,” representing eight percent of senior subordinated note-holders of Canwest Media Inc. “Because it has the support of the Ad Hoc Committee, we believe that we can use the stability offered by the CCAA to implement this plan in four to six months,” said Leonard Asper, Canwest President and CEO, adding, “all our operations will continue uninterrupted.”
The CCAA bankruptcy protection specifically involves Canwest, CMI, Canwest Television Limited Partnership (including Global Television, MovieTime, DejaView and Fox Sports World) and The National Post Company. It does not include Alliance Atlantis, which the company purchased in association with Goldman Sachs in 2007 or Canwest Limited Partnership – the company’s Canadian publishing and associated online and mobile operations.
Canwest purchased 50-percent ownership in the National Post newspaper back in July 2000, as part of what was then the biggest media deal in Canadian history, involving the $3.2-billion acquisition of Hollinger International Inc.’s Canadian newspaper and Internet assets – controlled, at the time, by Conrad Black. The deal also involved 13 daily metropolitan newspapers, 126 community newspapers, and various Websites such as Canada.com.
Then in August 2001, Canwest purchased the remaining 50 percent stake in the National Post from Hollinger – for $1. In April 2009, Canwest wrote down the value of its newspaper assets by $1.2-billion. At the start of this October, National Post CEO Paul Godfrey was reported to be leading a management buyout of the daily newspapers owned by Canwest.
View Canwest timeline: From 1974 to 2009 by The Globe and Mail.