CanWest to rework Oz assets to raise cash

Needs to beat back debt from Conrad Black deal

CanWest may restructure its holdings Down Under to reduce debt levels, which are rising to an estimated C$3.5 billion ($2.36 billion) in the wake of the Canadian media conglom’s deal to buy the Canuck publishing assets of Conrad Black.

While media analysts believe CanWest is unlikely to offload its 57% stake in Oz’s Network Ten, which remains a major international profit contributor, many believe Ten may take over CanWest’s Kiwi holdings, which include TV3, TV4, CanWest New Zealand Radio and RadioWorks NZ.

Australia’s Financial Review quoted Credit Suisse First Boston as saying that such an asset transfer is “a genuine prospect” that could raise up to A$400 million cash ($233.4 million) for CanWest.

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