Canadian media giant Canwest selling its stake in Australian broadcaster to Macquarie Capital

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Canwest to sell stake in Australian broadcaster

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Canadian media giant Canwest Global Communications Corp. has agreed to sell its majority stake in Australian broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd. in a deal worth 634 million Canadian dollars ($588 million).

Shares in Canwest gained 68 percent in midday trading Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Canwest said late Wednesday it has signed a deal to sell its entire 50.1 percent stake in Ten Holdings to Macquarie Capital Advisers Ltd.

It said the sale is expected to be completed by Oct. 1.

Canwest owns the Global television network in Canada and an array of big-city Canadian daily newspapers. It has been struggling to repay debt of 4 billion Canadian dollars ($3.7 billion).

Ten Holdings completed an equity offering earlier this year that cut Canwest’s ownership stake in the broadcaster from 57 percent to just over 50 percent.

Canwest initially put the commercial television channel operator up for sale in October 2006, when Australian foreign ownership rules were relaxed.

After a failed search for an attractive offer, Canwest yanked the broadcaster off the market and completed a share exchange plan that gave it a majority ownership of the network.

Since then, Canwest has sold numerous other assets including indirect interests in four Turkish radio stations and American political magazine the New Republic.

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