Canwest units under creditor protection

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted most of the Canwest Global Communications organization protection from creditors at mid-morning Tuesday, ending years of uncertainty about Canwest’s massive debt load. The company, which closed closed in trading Monday with its shares at .235, announced the court order.

A Globe and Mail story said controlling shareholders, the Asper family, will lose “the bulk of their stake.” Reported a National Post story carried by Canwest’s news service: “We did this in order to implement a controlled, orderly and consensual financial restructuring plan that will provide a renewed financial outlook for these business units and put them on a stronger footing for the future,” Canwest CEO Leonard Asper said in a note to staff Tuesday morning. ‘This is called a strategic filing because it has the support of our major debt holders and it means that we can quickly implement our restructuring plan with the goal of completing this work in four to six months,” he said.”

The order does not affect Canwest Media specialty channels or the publishing arm that includes all newspapers (except the National Post) and “associated online and mobile properties,” noted the Post.