Dec 04, 2020
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CRTC delay’s CanWest Acquisition

TORONTO (CP) _ CanWest MediaWorks Inc.’s plans to push its acquisition of the specialty channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. through regulatory approval by the end of this summer have been dashed as the company runs up against a regulatory slowdown that some say could affect the outcome of the deal.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has delayed a public hearing for an application from CanWest (TSX:CGS) to acquire the specialty TV channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. The hearing has been rescheduled to Nov. 19.

The regulator said that the decision to reschedule the hearing was made after CanWest filed more than 52 additional documents late last week consisting of more than 300 pages. The regulator decided to postpone the hearing by more than two months "in the interest of procedural fairness."

CanWest is paired in a joint venture to divvy up the assets of Alliance Atlantis with New York-based investment firm Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), a $2.3-billion deal that was first announced last January.

The agreement was originally planned to close in early August, but he companies decided to push the deadline ahead eight days, to Aug. 15, because they wanted more time to complete financing and documentation.

On Tuesday, CanWest announced the regulators pushed ahead the deadline because of the closing date of the dead was moved ahead.

The delay could also have an impact on the composition of the deal, suggested industry watchers.

It will "only fuel concerns that the current deal may need to be reworked to gain approval, which may leave investors content to sit on the sidelines," said Ben Mogil, an analyst at Westwind Partners, said in a note.

Initially CanWest had committed $132 million up front to the deal, but boosted its position only a month later to $200 million. In July, CanWest once again upped its commitment to $262 million in a move that was widely viewed as a way to avoid trouble with federal regulators.

Through the agreement, CanWest will hold a 36 per cent equity stake but two-thirds of the voting shares in the Alliance Atlantis specialty-channel assets, which are worth about $1.5 billion.

Goldman Sachs will have the other one-third of the voting shares and 64 per cent of the equity in the broadcasting joint venture.

The CRTC said in a release that pushing the hearing until November was done because it believes that "interveners should be given a fair opportunity to comment on these documents" that were submitted last week.

Critics will have until Oct. 10 to comment on the new filings.

The date shuffle now puts the CanWest consideration after CRTC hearings on new policies regarding media consolidation and diversity which start on Sept. 17.

"Despite assurances from the CRTC that the Sept. 17 hearing on media diversity will not a play a role in the CW hearings, we suspect that CGS would have preferred to have gone before those hearings," said Mogil.

CanWest might also have to bend to fit content requirements pushed by the regulator, said Jesse Hirsh, a media watcher for Openflows Networks.

"The opportunity here is to certainly leverage anything they can get out of CanWest," he suggested, naming stable funding commitments for independent programming as a key concern.

"The question is the political will."

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Headline, Industry News

CRTC delay’s CanWest Acquisition

TORONTO (CP) _ CanWest MediaWorks Inc.’s plans to push its acquisition of the specialty channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. through regulatory approval by the end of this summer have been dashed as the company runs up against a regulatory slowdown that some say could affect the outcome of the deal.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has delayed a public hearing for an application from CanWest (TSX:CGS) to acquire the specialty TV channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. The hearing has been rescheduled to Nov. 19.

The regulator said that the decision to reschedule the hearing was made after CanWest filed more than 52 additional documents late last week consisting of more than 300 pages. The regulator decided to postpone the hearing by more than two months "in the interest of procedural fairness."

CanWest is paired in a joint venture to divvy up the assets of Alliance Atlantis with New York-based investment firm Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), a $2.3-billion deal that was first announced last January.

The agreement was originally planned to close in early August, but he companies decided to push the deadline ahead eight days, to Aug. 15, because they wanted more time to complete financing and documentation.

On Tuesday, CanWest announced the regulators pushed ahead the deadline because of the closing date of the dead was moved ahead.

The delay could also have an impact on the composition of the deal, suggested industry watchers.

It will "only fuel concerns that the current deal may need to be reworked to gain approval, which may leave investors content to sit on the sidelines," said Ben Mogil, an analyst at Westwind Partners, said in a note.

Initially CanWest had committed $132 million up front to the deal, but boosted its position only a month later to $200 million. In July, CanWest once again upped its commitment to $262 million in a move that was widely viewed as a way to avoid trouble with federal regulators.

Through the agreement, CanWest will hold a 36 per cent equity stake but two-thirds of the voting shares in the Alliance Atlantis specialty-channel assets, which are worth about $1.5 billion.

Goldman Sachs will have the other one-third of the voting shares and 64 per cent of the equity in the broadcasting joint venture.

The CRTC said in a release that pushing the hearing until November was done because it believes that "interveners should be given a fair opportunity to comment on these documents" that were submitted last week.

Critics will have until Oct. 10 to comment on the new filings.

The date shuffle now puts the CanWest consideration after CRTC hearings on new policies regarding media consolidation and diversity which start on Sept. 17.

"Despite assurances from the CRTC that the Sept. 17 hearing on media diversity will not a play a role in the CW hearings, we suspect that CGS would have preferred to have gone before those hearings," said Mogil.

CanWest might also have to bend to fit content requirements pushed by the regulator, said Jesse Hirsh, a media watcher for Openflows Networks.

"The opportunity here is to certainly leverage anything they can get out of CanWest," he suggested, naming stable funding commitments for independent programming as a key concern.

"The question is the political will."

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

CRTC delay’s CanWest Acquisition

TORONTO (CP) _ CanWest MediaWorks Inc.’s plans to push its acquisition of the specialty channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. through regulatory approval by the end of this summer have been dashed as the company runs up against a regulatory slowdown that some say could affect the outcome of the deal.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has delayed a public hearing for an application from CanWest (TSX:CGS) to acquire the specialty TV channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. The hearing has been rescheduled to Nov. 19.

The regulator said that the decision to reschedule the hearing was made after CanWest filed more than 52 additional documents late last week consisting of more than 300 pages. The regulator decided to postpone the hearing by more than two months "in the interest of procedural fairness."

CanWest is paired in a joint venture to divvy up the assets of Alliance Atlantis with New York-based investment firm Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), a $2.3-billion deal that was first announced last January.

The agreement was originally planned to close in early August, but he companies decided to push the deadline ahead eight days, to Aug. 15, because they wanted more time to complete financing and documentation.

On Tuesday, CanWest announced the regulators pushed ahead the deadline because of the closing date of the dead was moved ahead.

The delay could also have an impact on the composition of the deal, suggested industry watchers.

It will "only fuel concerns that the current deal may need to be reworked to gain approval, which may leave investors content to sit on the sidelines," said Ben Mogil, an analyst at Westwind Partners, said in a note.

Initially CanWest had committed $132 million up front to the deal, but boosted its position only a month later to $200 million. In July, CanWest once again upped its commitment to $262 million in a move that was widely viewed as a way to avoid trouble with federal regulators.

Through the agreement, CanWest will hold a 36 per cent equity stake but two-thirds of the voting shares in the Alliance Atlantis specialty-channel assets, which are worth about $1.5 billion.

Goldman Sachs will have the other one-third of the voting shares and 64 per cent of the equity in the broadcasting joint venture.

The CRTC said in a release that pushing the hearing until November was done because it believes that "interveners should be given a fair opportunity to comment on these documents" that were submitted last week.

Critics will have until Oct. 10 to comment on the new filings.

The date shuffle now puts the CanWest consideration after CRTC hearings on new policies regarding media consolidation and diversity which start on Sept. 17.

"Despite assurances from the CRTC that the Sept. 17 hearing on media diversity will not a play a role in the CW hearings, we suspect that CGS would have preferred to have gone before those hearings," said Mogil.

CanWest might also have to bend to fit content requirements pushed by the regulator, said Jesse Hirsh, a media watcher for Openflows Networks.

"The opportunity here is to certainly leverage anything they can get out of CanWest," he suggested, naming stable funding commitments for independent programming as a key concern.

"The question is the political will."

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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