January 12, 2010 / 6:51 AM / 8 years ago

Four potential bidders emerge for Canwest: report

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Corus Entertainment Inc, Shaw Communications Inc, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd and Jim Pattison Group are considering investing in debt-laden media company Canwest Global Communications Corp, the Globe and Mail newspaper said.

Canwest’s financial advisers at RBC Dominion Securities Inc settled on four potential bidders last week, and are now attempting to get the best possible terms from one of them, the paper said citing unnamed investment banking sources.

Canwest, Canada’s biggest media company, filed for bankruptcy protection for parts of the firm last October, weighed down by some C$4 billion ($3.8 billion) in debt and hurt by a slide in advertising revenue.

The company, which owns the Global television network in Canada and specialty channels like History Television and Showcase, has been hunting for three months now for an investor willing to pump up to C$65 million into the company, the paper said.

Last Friday, the company’s stable of newspaper assets, other than the flagship National Post, also filed for court protection.

A spokeswoman for the Pattison group, a private Vancouver-based company with investments ranging from the auto industry to outdoor advertising, said it doesn’t comment on its business activities.

Specialty TV and radio group Corus, insurance company Fairfax and TV, phone and Internet company Shaw were not immediately available for comment.

RBC is also running a sale process for Canwest’s newspaper group, which includes the Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun and Calgary Herald.

Companies said to potentially be interested in the newspaper assets include Torstar Corp, publisher of Canada’s biggest daily, the Toronto Star, and media and communications company Quebecor Inc.

Other possible newspaper suitors are Transcontinental, FP Newspapers LP and Glacier Media.

The recession’s blow to advertising revenues, which were already dropping as newspaper readership has dropped, could make a sale difficult, said Rick Edmonds, a media analyst at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It is very hard to find a buyer right now who will pay much for anything,” Edmonds said.

($1 = $1.04 Canadian)

Reporting by Santosh Nadgir and Nicole Mordant; Editing by Frank McGurty

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