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Fireworks blowout

CanWest Global sells defunct arm's TV library

Media giant CanWest Global Communications has sold the TV library of subsidiary Fireworks Distributing Corp., the last vestiges of its now-defunct content and production arm Fireworks Entertainment, to Alliance Atlantis Communications-controlled income trust Motion Picture Distribution for an undisclosed amount.

Fireworks’ library contains 1,200 hours of programming, mostly produced between 1998 and 2004. It covers TV series made for the syndicated market including “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda,” “Relic Hunter” and “Zoe Busiek: Wild Card.”

Motion Picture Distribution’s film and TV library has more than 10,600 hours thanks to acquisitions since 1997 of content from Telescene, Peace Arch, Cinemavault, Norstar and Cineplex Odeon Films,

Winnipeg-based CanWest could use the money: It is taking an estimated C$300 million ($256 million) hit as a chill in the income trust market forces it to slash the value and boost the yield of its planned newspaper IPO.

The company said this week that its newspaper asset income trust IPO will raise $469 million instead of $597 million and that cash distributions for investors will be more generous than originally advertised. Details are expected to be announced at the end of the week.

The proceeds will pay down debt at the cash-strapped company, which has TV, newspaper and radio assets in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Ireland.

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