TORONTO — Canadian broadcaster CanWest Global Communications Corp. lost an appeal Thursday of a 1996 court decision that upheld the existing ownership of rival Western Intl. Communications Ltd.

CanWest and two former WIC directors were seeking a judgment that share dealings between the Griffiths family and another major shareholder, the Allard family of Edmonton, caused a change of control and triggered a clause in the company’s bylaws that would have converted non-voting shares into voting stock, which currently represents only 3.6% of the total shares outstanding.

The Griffiths family owns 62% of the voting shares.

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