Calgary-based Shaw Communications Corp. would own at least 20 per cent of Canwest's equity and 80 per cent of its voting stock if the transaction announced Friday closes.
I'm not entirely sure, given the byzantine complexity of Canwest's ownership, but this sounds like the Asper family's chokehold control on Canwest is over.
Whether that's enough to save some of Canwest's papers is open to discussion. It will be interesting to see if editorial control over the newspapers continues to be dictated from Winnipeg, or if the newspapers that are part of Canwest's holdings start exercising some independent thought.
Whether the stumbling National Post remains "viable" in the new CanWest empire remains to be seen. As far as I know, it has never actually turned a profit since its inception - one would imagine that fresh eyes on the Canwest board might look at that track record somewhat differently than the Aspers have.
It appears that the deal does not include CanWest's newspaper holdings. Interesting. Any guesses on who will buy up the newspaper divisions?