Tuesday, October 06, 2009

CanWest Restructuring - No Tears for the Aspers Here

So, CanWest has filed for court protection - not the same as filing for bankruptcy but a major shakeup, nonetheless.

The filing involves CanWest Media Inc. (CMI), which is the holding company that owns several divisions that make up CanWest. It also includes CanWest Television Limited Partnership, which holds Global Television and cable TV assets MovieTime, DejaView and Fox Sports World.

The National Post newspaper is also included in the filing, but CanWest's newspaper division, CanWest LP, is not part of the filing. The newspaper operation, which includes several large daily papers such as the Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and Vancouver Sun, may seek a separate filing of its own, since it is restructuring debt with a different group of bondholders.

The Alliance Atlantis assets, purchased in partnership with Goldman Sachs a few years ago, which include specialty TV channels such as HGTV and the Food Network, are also not included in the filing.

Good to see that HGTV may be safe. Of all of their assets, that's the only one I actually have any use for. The rest of their right-wing/libertarian driven empire could disappear tomorrow, afaic. I'd feel badly if anyone lost their jobs but the writing has been on the wall about this eventual outcome since Izzy died - leaving massive debts - and his son Leonard took over.

Via The Georgia Straight from last December, I'd say that this kind of attitude might have a little something to do with the trouble the Aspers are having now:

The eldest son, David Asper, who is chair of the National Post, was more bombastic: “We own the papers. We have the right to have the papers print whatever the hell we want them to say. And if people don’t like it, they can go to hell. They can leave, get another job. People knew that Conrad [Black] had a much more hands-off policy.”
He can say whatever the hell he wants to say all right. And we can choose whether or not to buy his bullshit. In this case, it looks like the people have spoken.


Canwest CEO Leonard Asper's memo to staff 

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