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Shaw to acquire Canwest television operation

03/05/10

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Shaw Communications Inc said on Monday it reached a deal with the debtholders of Canwest Global Communications to acquire the television operations of the bankrupt media company for C$2 billion ($1.97 billion) including assumed debt.

Shaw reached an agreement with Goldman Sachs and other senior subordinated noteholders allowing it to acquire all of the shares of a restructured Canwest upon completion of a proposed recapitalization transaction, the companies said in a separate statements.

A judge in February ruled that Canwest's television assets could be acquired by Shaw Communications, scuppering Goldman Sachs' 11th-hour bid for Canwest's broadcast arm. Goldman and its partners appealed the ruling in March.

The Canwest media empire has struggled for survival after a rapid rise to glory trapped it under a massive debt load -- some C$4 billion -- forcing it to file for creditor protection for its television operations in October 2009.

That was only two years after sealing a C$2.3 billion deal with an affiliate of Goldman Sachs to acquire specialty-TV group Alliance Atlantis Communications, when Canwest gained such popular channels as Food Network Canada, History Television and HGTV Canada.

The sale of Canwest's TV assets is separate from a process to sell its newspaper arm, which is also in bankruptcy protection. The papers that may be sold off include the National Post and Vancouver Sun.

Torstar Corp , publisher of Canada's biggest daily, the Toronto Star, said on Monday it has submitted an offer to acquire the newspaper and digital businesses of Canwest Ltd Partnership and its related entities.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Frank McGurty)










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