CanWest makes play for Bombers


TORONTO -- Canadian broadcaster CanWest Global Communications Corp. on Monday launched a CAN$65 million ($56 million) bid for control of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.

Fresh from its $2.3 billion joint bid for Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba-based CanWest has proposed contributing CAN$40 million ($34.2 million) for a new stadium in Winnipeg, with government money to cover the rest of the estimated CAN$120 million ($103.5 million) building costs.

David Asper, CanWest Global executive vp, who is spearheading the bid for the professional football team, proposed spending another CAN$25 million ($21.5 million) to develop retail projects around a new stadium.
Asper is looking to secure control of the CFL team in return for helping build the stadium.

The CanWest Global executive joined the Blue Bombers boardroom five years ago after arranging a debt-relief plan to save the professional football club from bankruptcy.

Possibly securing control of the Blue Bombers would see Canwest Global follow in the footsteps of Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications Inc., which earlier bought the Toronto Blue Jays major league baseball club and the SkyDome stadium facility.