In Canada, there’s confirmation the struggling Canwest Global Communications Corp is selling its indirect interests in four Turkish radio stations as continues to try and keep itself alive and out of receivership. Canwest did not disclose the value of the deal with Spectrum Medya, a Turkish-based company. It said the proceeds will be used to pay down debt outstanding under a credit facility of its main subsidiary.

The decision to sell the stations comes five days days before a May 19 deadline in negotiations with its creditors and noteholders. Canwest had previously sold small interests in a Canadian sports channel and sold a US magazine. There’s now talk that Canwest could be talking to a handful of groups, (including one Australian private investor) about a refinancing and restructure of its debt.

The Toronto Globe and Mail said some proposals will be looked at this week and named Fairfax Financial of Canada, Onex Corp, (which was a small investor in the aborted private equity buyout of Qantas) and Brookfield Asset Management, which has a link to Multiplex in Australia. An unnamed Australian private equity investor is said to be interested in a stake in the Ten Network in Australia.

In London the struggling media group, Independent News & Media faces a deadline this week for the refinancing of a 200 million euro loan. (INM controls APN News & media in Australia). Some reports say the the owner of The Independent and Sunday Independent newspapers is now in serious doubt after the group failed to reach an agreement with bondholders over the debt. Other reports say the company is positive that the required 75% will give their consent for a standstill agreement that would give the group until June 26 to refinance the loan. If a deal is reached, it is expected to be announced this week. INM wants to extend the maturity of the 200 million euro debt and that of a further 590 million, due later this year and next. Another 591 million is due in 2012. If bankers can give Canwest repeated extensions, they should be able to give INM one on a much smaller debt burden. Canwest owes close to $C4 billion, INM owes nearly 1.4 billion euros. That much less than Canwest’s burden.

Peter Fray

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