Deals get Canwest back in business


Canadian bankers and U.S. bondholders agreed Wednesday to pump new capital into debt-laden Canwest Global Communications to stave off bankruptcy protection.

The recapitalization clears the way for the Canadian broadcaster to shop for new and returning U.S. series beginning today at the L.A. Screenings.

Canwest Global said it reached a deal with a group representing a majority of U.S. bondholders that will see them purchase $105 million in 12% senior secured notes of key subsidiaries Canwest Media and Canwest Television.

The U.S. bondholders were owed $30.4 million in overdue interest payments but agreed not to call Canwest Global on the $761 million principal while negotiations continued against a Tuesday deadline.

The deal with U.S. noteholders will supply Canwest Global with $100 million in new financing, the broadcaster said.

Separately, CIT Business Credit Canada has agreed to provide a new $75 million senior credit line to Canwest Media.

"These facilities are intended to provide Canwest with sufficient credit availability to operate its business in the ordinary course as it continues its work to effect a recapitalization transaction," the broadcaster said Wednesday.

Canwest Global will face off with rival CTV for new and returning U.S. network shows during the Screenings. (partialdiff)