Court OKs Goldman, Canwest hearing

Goldman seeks to annul Canwest's recapitalization plans

TORONTO -- The Ontario Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite a hearing into Goldman Sachs & Co.'s bid to annul recapitalization plans by Canadian broadcaster Canwest Global Communications Corp.

In a March 19 court filing, Canwest Global told the appeals court that the U.S. investment bank's challenge of a February 19 lower court decision to grant cable giant Shaw Communications a controlling stake in the broadcaster was holding back plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Lawyers for Canwest Global said an expedited appeal was also required as the broadcaster looks to bargain for new and returning series with U.S. studio suppliers in the run-up to the Los Angeles screenings.

"With certain of next season's foreign television programming rights to be determined in or around May 2010, the CMI (Canwest Media) entities need certainty regarding whether the Shaw transaction will proceed as soon as possible," the court filing argued.

In its own court filing, Goldman Sachs said it remains in the dark while Canwest Global seeks required regulatory and creditor approval for its recapitalization plans.

"This motion is yet another example of applicants' practice of failing to cooperate," Goldman Sachs managing director Gerald Cardinale told the Ontario appeals court.

Goldman Sachs owns 13 Canadian cable channels that Canwest Global operates on its behalf, and contends Shaw is using the shareholder restructuring process to extract better terms on how the profitable broadcast assets are run and are to be bought out in 2011.