WINNIPEG, June 18 /CNW/ - Following a strategic review of its investment
in The Ten Group Pty Limited (TEN) in Australia, CanWest Global Communications
Corp. announced today that it has determined that it is in the best interests
of its shareholders to hold a majority voting equity interest in the TEN
group, and therefore intends to exercise its right to exchange its ordinary
shares and convertible debentures of TEN into ordinary shares of Ten Network
Holdings Limited (TNH).
"We have spent the last several months considering our strategic options
regarding our investments in the South Pacific," stated Leonard Asper,
CanWest's President and CEO. "In the case of our New Zealand operations, we
determined to divest our investment position. In Australia, however, we have
determined that retaining our investment in TEN to be in the best interests of
our shareholders. We believe that the company's operations have growth
potential still to be realized and that our shareholders would be best served
by participating in that potential."
Upon completion of the exchange, CanWest would become TNH's majority
shareholder, holding approximately 523 million shares in TNH which would
represent an approximate 56% controlling equity stake in that company. The
exercise of the exchange right by CanWest is conditional upon foreign
ownership approvals including that of Australia's Foreign Investment Review
Board. That application process is currently underway.
CanWest is able to exchange its TEN securities for a majority
shareholding in TNH without making a follow-on offer to TNH's shareholders in
accordance with an exemption obtained from the Australian Securities and
Investment Commission in 1998.
"We believe that both TEN's television and out-of-home advertising
operations have very bright futures," stated Tom Strike, President of CanWest
MediaWorks International. "TEN has proven an extraordinarily successful
investment for our Company over the last 15 years, and we see that success
continuing. We also believe that there is scope for providing significant cash
distributions to TNH's shareholders in the future, including by way of
returning capital and/or offering to buy back shares, without limiting its
prospects for growth. It also provides CanWest with maximum financial
flexibility regarding its investment in TNH and its operating subsidiaries -
the Ten Television Network and Eye Corp."
TNH's Executive Chairman Nick Falloon indicated his support, stating that
TNH "welcomes CanWest's decision as a sign of continued belief in the group's
future growth prospects."
Forward Looking Statements
This media release contains certain comments or "forward-looking
statements" that are based largely upon current expectations and are subject
to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. Statements that are not historical
facts are forward-looking and are subject to important risks, uncertainties
and assumptions. Factors that could cause actual events to vary from current
expectations include the risk that the proposed exchange transaction will not
be successfully completed for any reason (including failure to obtain
requisite regulatory approvals or if it receives an attractive competitive
proposal prior to exercising its exchange right). CanWest disclaims any
intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, even if new
information becomes available as a result of future events or for any other
TNH (www.tencorporate.com.au) is a public company listed on the
Australian Stock Exchange (trading symbol: TNH). TNH owns the majority of the
shares of TEN. TEN owns and operates the free-to-air Ten Television Network in
Australia and Eye Corp., an out-of-home advertising business with operations
in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, the United States and the
About CanWest Global Communications Corp.
CanWest Global Communications Corp. (www.canwestglobal.com), (TSX: CGS
and CGS.A) an international media company, is Canada's largest media company.
In addition to owning the Global Television Network, CanWest also owns,
operates and/or holds substantial interests in Canada's largest publisher of
daily newspapers, and conventional television, out-of-home advertising,
specialty cable channels, web sites and radio stations and networks in Canada,
New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United
For further information:
For further information: Deb Hutton, SVP Corporate Communications,
CanWest Global Communications Corp., (416) 383-2442, firstname.lastname@example.org