Shaw buys Canwest [UPDATED]

Heavily indebted CanWest Global Communications Corp is being effectively acquired by cable and satellite company Shaw Communications Corp., the companies announced.  “While there is much work still to be done, Shaw’s commitment
represents an important step towards a successful financial
restructuring of Canwest and is supported by the Company and the
members of the Ad Hoc Committee,” said Derek Burney, chair of Canwest’s
board, in a press release.

[Update: The fate of Canwest’s newspaper arm, which is also under bankruptcy protection, was not at first clear from the press release or early reports. Eric Lam of Canwest’s Financial Post reported, “The National Post and other Canwest newspapers fall under a separate holding company, Canwest LP, and are unaffected by this announcement.”]

The late Israel Asper established Canwest first as a Winnipeg broadcaster and
started the series of acquisitions — including of the former Southam
newspapers, Canada’s largest newspaper chain, from Hollinger — that left the company
billions of dollars in debt and under court protection from creditors. The series of deals rendered the pensions and severance payments of thousands of journalists who had worked for the newspapers at risk.

Earlier this week Canwest announced that two of the three Asper children, Gail Asper and David Asper, resigned from Canwest’s board of directors along with board member Lisa Pankratz. Canwest president and CEO  Leonard Asper remained, said the press release, along with independent directors involved in the Company’s financial restructuring activities: Burney, David Drybrough, David Kerr and Margot Micallef.