Canwest Talks Continue on TV Asset Sale to Shaw, Delaying Court Hearing
Canwest Global Communications Corp. and dissenting shareholders continued talks to resolve a dispute over the sale of the company’s television assets to Shaw Communications Inc. for C$2 billion ($1.9 billion), delaying a scheduled court hearing.
Lyndon Barnes, Canwest’s lawyer, said in an e-mail he planned to attend court later today, “but time not determined yet.”
“Talks continue and I have not received any indication when court will begin,” John Douglas, a Canwest spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Shareholders led by Canwest’s founding Asper family object to the sale of all of the television assets. Shaw had agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in the television unit in February, which had been approved by an Ontario judge over the objections of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. Goldman owned a stake in Canwest’s specialty television unit.
Canwest, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 6 as it faced demands for repayment of more than C$1 billion of debt. The company had about C$4 billion of debt at the time.
The deal for the television unit was renegotiated to let Shaw acquire it all, including Goldman’s stake which the bank agreed to sell for C$700 million.
Reasons for Objections
The dissenting shareholders object because the new agreement doesn’t leave them with any equity in the television unit. They argue that the unit would have fetched more had it been put up for auction.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Sarah Pepall yesterday called the dispute “ridiculous” and ordered the two sides to resolve it outside court.
The cases are In the Matter of a Plan of Compromise or Arrangement of Canwest Global Communications Corp., CV-09-8396, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto) and In the Matter of a Plan of Compromise or Arrangement of Canwest Publishing Inc., CV-10-8533, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto).