Court OKs Shaw to acquire CanWest TV assets

$2 bil deal may move company from creditor protection by fall

TORONTO -- An Ontario court on Wednesday cleared the way for cable giant Shaw Communications to acquire the TV assets of CanWest Global Communications Corp. for $2 billion.

The sanction order from Justice Sarah Pepall of the Ontario Superior Court moves Canwest Global a step closer to emerging from creditor protection, likely by the fall.

"This is another important step forward with respect to the CMI Entities emerging from the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act process and we look forward to closing the transaction once all necessary regulatory reviews have been concluded," Shaw Communications CEO Jim Shaw said Wednesday.

Canwest Global last week secured the consent of unsecured creditors for the sale of its TV assets, and must now secure a seal of approval from the federal Competition Bureau and the country's TV regulator during public hearings to start on September 20.

Winnipeg-based Canwest Global last October tipped itself into creditor protection to deal with a crippling $4 billion debt load.

Calgary-based Shaw in February first proposed to secure a controlling stake in Canwest Global to help recapitalize the media group.

The cable giant then opted for an outright acquisition after it became embroiled in a knock-down legal battle for control of 13 cable channels with Goldman Sachs & Co.

Canwest Global earlier sold off its newspaper division to a consortium of bondholders as part of a separate transaction.