CanWest avoids bankruptcy

Chris Forrester

Canada’s biggest media outfit CanWest has again avoided bankruptcy. The Winnipeg publishing and broadcasting giant on Wednesday signed deals that will guarantee it a C$175 million (US$154 million) lifeline, and allow operations to continue.

CanWest is burdened by some $3.5bn of debt, and it is some of these creditors who have stepped up to the plate and thrown the company its lifeline. Certain debt noteholders have agreed to buy C$100 million worth of debt in CanWest Media, and CanWest Television Partnership, two subsidiaries.

Additionally, CIT Business Credit Canada has agreed to provide an asset-backed loan of C$75 million.

A statement from CanWest talked about the company continuing its work to restructure and recapitalise. The company has until June 15 to complete that process.

CanWest owns Canadian networks Global Television and E! as well as 26 speciality networks. The company is also a majority of Ten Network in Australia. Its present troubles are not helped by its purchase in January 2007 of Alliance Atlantis (in a consortium that included Goldman Sachs). Alliance produces the CSI franchise of drama series.