Canwest holds second-phase newspaper sale

Initial round drummed up non-binding interest from six parties

TORONTO -- Debt-laden Canwest Global Communications Corp. will hold a second round of bidding for its struggling Canwest LP newspaper chain after an initial round drummed up non-binding interest from a half-dozen parties.

Winnipeg-based Canwest Global said a second round will end with formal bids due by April 30.

Among the expected bidders is newspaper publisher Torstar Corp., British Columbia newspaper owner David Black, a consortium led by Toronto-based equity firm Onex Corp. and Paul Godfrey, a former publisher of the National Post, one of the Canwest newspapers up for sale, and the Asper family of Winnipeg, founders of Canwest Global Communications.

The 12 dailies, 26 community newspapers and related assets that are part of Canwest LP have been squeezed by an industry-wide advertising slump.

The sale of Canwest LP, which tipped itself into creditor protection in January, will help repay around $1 billion in debt to a consortium that includes Canada's five largest banks.