Studios on list of Canwest Global creditors

Canadian arms of major Hollywood studios owed millions

TORONTO -- The Canadian arms of major Hollywood studios are among the biggest unsecured creditors of Canwest Global Communications after the restructuring Canadian broadcaster put parts of its business into creditor protection (HR, Oct 6).

FTI Consulting, Canwest Global's court-appointed monitor, reported program supplier E! Entertainment Television is owed CAN$1.6 million ($1.4 million), and Buena Vista International has a claim for just over CAN$1 million ($955,000).

CBS International Television Canada is also owed CAN$242,000 ($230,000), while Toronto-based NBC Universal Television Distribution is owed CAN$1.7 million ($1.6 million), Universal Studios Canada has a claim for CAN$3.5 million ($3.3 million), and the NBC news channel, based in Atlanta, is owed another CAN$101,000 ($96,000).

Warner Bros. Entertainment is on the hook for CAN$224,000 ($213,000).

Toronto-based Twentieth Century Fox Incendo is listed as being owed CAN$8.5 million ($8.1 million), but that sum has since been repaid as part of a post-creditor protection filing provision that allows Canwest Global to cut cheques and settle certain debts to assure a programming pipeline from key suppliers in Los Angeles.

"We are confident that we have reached agreements with the studios to ensure our programming lineup is intact and we will have the flow of programming" for the benefit of local advertisers, Canwest Global spokesman John Douglas said.

Canwest Global has long-standing program supply deals with major studios that include 20th Century Fox and Columbia Tristar Media Group, which has a claim for $1.4 million.

Also among the unsecured creditors is Los Angeles-based Endemol Entertainment USA owed CAN$373,000 ($355,000), and FremantleMedia NA with a claim for another CAN$452,000 ($430,000).

Debt-laden Canwest Global voluntarily filed for creditor protection under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

Canwest Global hopes to emerge from creditor protection in January, at which time unsecured creditors are likely to be paid, according to the broadcaster.

Before the restructuring is completed, U.S. bondholders and senior lenders are expected exchange debt for equity in Canwest Global, which operates TV, newspaper and digital assets nationwide.