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CanWest – Shaw Communications deal

Dealmakers Impact Report 2010

Jim Shaw
Vice chair of Shaw Communications
Shaw has spent the past 12 years running one of Canada’s largest communications companies, Shaw Communications, a leading cable operator and now a top broadcaster following its acquisition earlier this year of the TV assets of the ailing CanWest. He joined his family’s company as a construction worker and cable installer in 1982, then worked his way up and was named president in 1995 and took over the top job as CEO in 1998. During his tenure, Calgary-based Shaw made major gains, increasing its share of the cable market in Canada and successfully launching a satellite/direct-to-home business. Over the years Shaw helped create Corus Entertainment, which owns a slew of cable channels; acquire Moffat Communications, adding broadcast and cable channels, acquiring Monarch Cable in southern Alberta and British Columbia in 2003 and Mountain Cable in Ontario in 2009.
KEY DEAL: Acquired TV assets of CanWest Global Communications earlier this year. “Over my 12 years as CEO, I have led a first-class team that delivered an unprecedented period of growth and expansion for Shaw, culminating with the $2 billion acquisition of CanWest Global’s TV and specialty-channel assets,” Shaw says. That deal turned Shaw into one of the country’s most significant broadcast players and is one of the largest media deals in recent Canadian history. He stepped down as CEO of Shaw in November, with his brother Brad taking over.
SPARE TIME: Riding his Harley.
TOP CAUSE: U. of Calgary, U. of Alberta.

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Tom Strike
Retired (former CanWest Global executive)
Strike spent 24 years in different exec positions at Winnipeg-based CanWest before becoming prexy of corporate development and strategy implementation. He was involved in the deal whereby CanWest acquired the newspaper assets of Canuck publisher Hollinger, in CanWest’s acquisition of Australia’s Ten Network, in the IPO of CanWest Global in 1992 and the IPO of the Ten Network in 1998, and in CanWest’s acquisition of Alliance Atlantis, which gave CanWest a number of top cable channels.
KEY DEAL: Helped negotiate the deal that allowed Shaw Communications to acquire financially troubled CanWest’s TV assets for $2 billion earlier this year, a pact that radically altered the Canadian media landscape. CanWest owned the Global TV Network and a bunch of cable channels. The deal created a powerhouse in Shaw and signaled the end of CanWest’s existence. “We ran a fairly exhaustive process to look for interested parties,” Strike says. “The company and its creditors got a fair price and Shaw got a good asset.”

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