CanWest Teeters On Default; A ReorgAnd Asper's Loss Of ControlIncreasingly Likely

This story was written by David Kaplan.
CanWest, Canada's largest newspaper publisher, is facing possible default on $300 million (Canadian; $241 million USD) unless it can get its lenders to relax the terms on a debt payment due today, NYT reports. If it can't, the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company, which also owns the Global Television Network and reaches about 95 percent of that country's English-speaking population, could face bankruptcy.

In general, the newspaper business in Canada hasn't been suffering as much as in the U.S. But like its publishing counterparts to the south, debt stemming from its newspaper purchases nine years ago are the source of CanWest's current crisis. The company was started in 1974 by the late Israel Asper and his family still controls CanWest. Observers believe that unless they get a reprieve from creditors, the Aspers, could lose control of their companysomething observers consider likely even if the company gets a break on today's payment.

By David Kaplan