Torstar makes bid on Canwest newspaper unit

Terms of offer were not disclosed

TORONTO -- Canadian newspaper publisher Torstar Corp. on Monday confirmed that it has placed a formal offer on the table for Canwest Global Communications Corp.'s insolvent newspaper division.

Torstar did not disclose the size of its Canwest Lp. bid, which is being bankrolled by Fairfax Financial Holdings, a Toronto-based equity firm. But a consortium that comprises Canwest Lp.'s five biggest creditors, including Scotiabank, have set a floor price of $950 million for the publishing division, now under court-directed creditor protection.

Torstar did add that, should it be successful with its Canwest Lp. bid, the transaction "would be material" to the newspaper publisher.

Other rumored bidders for Canwest Lp. include a consortium led by former Canwest Global CEO Leonard Asper, Victoria-based newspaper publisher David Black and a group of CanWest Global's unsecured bondholders.

The Torstar offer is believed to be the front-runner to acquire Canwest Lp. as it is cash-heavy.

Also on Monday, Shaw Communications unveiled a deal to buy Canwest Global's conventional and cable TV operations for $2 billion in cash and assumed debt.