Auction of Canwest Newspapers Extended to March

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Bidders for Canwest Global Communications Corp.’s newspapers, which include the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and The Gazette in Montreal, were given another week to make their offers by an Ontario court Tuesday.

Holders of some C$300 million (US$283 million) of notes of Canwest, which filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 8, had complained the auction process was unfair because it gave a group of bank lenders a veto over bids. Tuesday the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said it would appoint a monitor to decide which bids can proceed to a final auction round.

The bank lenders have made an offer of C$925 million (US$873 million) for the newspaper assets of Canwest, Canada’s biggest media company.

A March 5 deadline was set for initial bids.

Canwest also said Tuesday the court extended its bankruptcy protection to April 14, 2010. In its Initial Order obtained on January 8, 2010, the Court provided a 30 day Stay Period.

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