Canwest starts ownership talks with regulators

Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:29pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canwest Global Communications Corp, which is struggling under a debt load of nearly C$4 billion ($3.7 billion), has initiated talks with Canadian regulators on a possible ownership change, officials said on Monday.

The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing several sources involved in the restructuring, said the main issue is whether Canwest's creditors can stay within the country's ownership rules for broadcasting assets if they convert debt owed to them into equity in the new restructured firm.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said "some discussions have started between our staff and the company ... I believe it's about ownership restructuring". She gave no details.

Canwest and its creditors have to agree on a restructuring plan including possibly filing for creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, before submitting it to the CRTC, the Globe said.

Formal talks have not yet begun between Canwest, Canada's largest media company, and the CRTC, the paper added.

Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Canwest owns the Global TV network and a stable of daily newspapers across Canada.

($1=$1.09 Canadian)

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>The CanWest Global building is seen on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, MB on November 14, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade</p>