Shaw Communications closes purchase of Canwest TV assets, rebrands as Shaw Media by David Friend

Oct 27, 2010

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

WINNIPEG - After a long haul through a restructuring process, regulatory approvals and other legal wrangling, the broadcasting assets of Canwest Global Communications are set to emerge from creditor protection as Shaw Media.

Calgary-based cable giant Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) said Wednesday that it had reached what will likely be the final stage in its $2-billion purchase of Canwest's conventional and specialty cable television operations.

Viewers of the Canwest Global television stations will start to notice minor tweaks on the Canadian-produced content, including a gradual shift of branding to Shaw Media. The company will retire the Canwest production name from the closing credits of programs, for example.

A Shaw spokeswoman said the company will also close Canwest's corporate headquarters in Winnipeg.

"They're wrapping everything up," representative Dervla Kelly said in a phone interview.

Some of the employees have shifted into new roles at Shaw, while others retired or found other jobs when Canwest was restructuring its operations.

Weighed down by debt, Canwest (TSXV:CGS) filed for creditor protection last fall. It sold its newspaper assets in a separate transaction earlier this year.

Shaw purchased the TV operations of Canwest for about $2-billion earlier this year and received final approval from the CRTC to complete the transaction last Friday.

The company, which has diversified beyond its roots as a cable company to include satellite TV, Internet and phone services, is buying 11 local Global TV stations across Canada and a group of specialty channels, including Showcase, MovieTime and HGTV.

Shaw will also get the broadcast rights to a variety of Canadian TV shows, as well as valuable agreements with U.S. networks.

As part of the transaction, Shaw announced a new management team for the broadcasting division.

It will be headed by Paul Robertson, who previously served as president of Shaw-controlled Corus Entertainment's TV division and oversaw the purchase of the Canwest assets.

© Winnipeg Free Press