On July 13, 2010, Postmedia Network Inc. and Postmedia Network Canada Corp.(collectively “Postmedia”) acquired the assets and business of Canwest LP and certain of its affiliates, including the shares of National Post Inc., under a sale proceeding conducted pursuant to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA”). The transaction makes Postmedia Canada's largest publisher of paid English-language daily newspapers along with a stable of community-based publications and online assets.
The aggregate enterprise value of the assets was estimated to be $1.1 billion. Postmedia Network Inc., the principal operating subsidiary of the company, secured approximately US$935 million in the aggregate of committed financing to fund the transaction, which consisted of $250 million in equity and approximately US$685 million in senior funded debt secured by all the assets of Postmedia and its subsidiaries.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP acted on behalf of Postmedia Network Inc., the acquiror, in connection with both the acquisition and the financing thereof. Davies also acted throughout the CCAA proceedings for an Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders that comprised 18 investment funds, which held the majority of Canwest LP's outstanding indebtedness and which provided a $250 million equity commitment to permit the acquisition. The Davies team included Jay Swartz, Natasha MacParland, Natalie Renner (restructuring); Cameron Rusaw, Philippe Rousseau, Sonny Bhalla, Aaron Hunter (corporate); Gabriella Lombardi, Donald Stanbury, David Reiner, Patrice Thomas, Nataša Biraè, Alain Roberge (real estate); Mindy Gilbert, Gerald Shepherd, Brett Seifred (securities); Scott Hyman, Paul Martin, Mark O'Brien, Jeffrey MacKenzie, Gilles Comeau (financing); Duncan Osborne, Shannon Nelson (tax); Natasha vandenHoven (pensions); Richard Elliott (competition); Matthew Gottlieb (litigation) and Alexandria Pike (environmental). Canwest LP's General Counsel Steven Pasternak led the sale transaction on behalf of Canwest LP.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP represented Canwest LP and its subsidiaries. The Osler team included Marc Wasserman, Edward Sellers, Michael De Lellis (restructuring); Mary Abbott, Robert Hughes (corporate); Lyndon Barnes, Alexander Cobb, Betsy Putnam (litigation); Rod Davidge (real estate) and Kimberly Wharram (tax).
Postmedia Network Canada Corp., the parent of Postmedia Network Inc., was represented by Goodmans LLP. The Goodmans team comprised Robert Chadwick, Celia Rhea, David Matlow, Mark Spiro, Michael Bertrand, Jennifer Sernaker, Meenu Khindri, Logan Willis, Grant Coad and Ryan Done (corporate/restructuring/financing); Carrie Smit and Maureen Berry (tax); Joe Conforti and Joe Morrison (labour and employment) and Jana Steele (pensions).
Debt financing for the transaction was provided through a US$300 million and $110 million term loan and a $60 million revolving loan as well as a US$275 million note issuance. These facilities were underwritten by JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. The financing transaction was led by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP on behalf of the lenders and underwriters. The Simpson Thacher team included Marisa Stavenas, Jonathan Ozner, Rohith Parasuraman, Sean Crnkovich and David Shapiro (capital markets); William Sheehan, Alexandra Kaplan, Ismael Duran, Anthony McMahon, Mark Maher and Parijat Sharma (credit); Mardi Merjian and Davis Coen (real estate); Genevieve Dorment (intellectual property); Jonathan Goldstein and Jennifer Klein (tax); Adeeb Fadil and Noreen Lavan (environmental); Andrea Wahlquist, Samantha Shipp and former associate Eric Sarabia (executive compensation and employee benefits); Julie Levy (labour); Ed Chung (M&A) and Elisha Graff (bankruptcy). Simpson Thacher was assisted by Canadian counsel to the lenders and underwriters, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, with a team that comprised Michael Harquail, Pamela Huff, George Yannopoulos, Iris Tam, Silvana D'Alimonte, Michelle Laniel, Neil Katz, Larry Winton, Chris Van Loan, Michael McGraw and Mark Platteel.
Postmedia Network Inc., as borrower and note issuer, was represented in the US by Latham & Watkins LLP with a team that comprised Robert Zuccaro, Joshua Tinkelman, Dennis Lamont, Veronica Relea, Christeen Walch, Nathan Ajiashvili, Shashi Khiani, Dennis Yai, Nicole Jackson, Young-Hwan Ryu and Manasi Bhattacharyya.
The acquisition followed a filing by the newspaper publishing entities in the Canwest group for protection from their creditors under the CCAA in January 2010. FTI Consulting Canada Inc. is the Court-appointed Monitor of Canwest Publishing Inc. and certain other Canwest Publishing Entities, with a team led by Paul Bishop, Senior Managing Director and included Steven Bissell, Managing Director, Jodi Porepa, Director, and Pamela Luthra, Director. Stikeman Elliott LLP acted as counsel to the Court-appointed Monitor with a team led by David Byers (litigation & insolvency) and included Daphne MacKenzie (corporate restructuring); Ashley Taylor, Maria Konyukhova and Sarah Clarke (insolvency); Aaron Fransen and Matthew Bassani (corporate); Nancy Ramalho (labour & employment); Jennifer Legge (banking); Andrea Boctor (pensions) and John Lorito (tax).
At the time of the CCAA filing, Canwest was in default of its obligation to its creditors, including approximately $950 million owed to its 184 senior secured lenders. The CCAA Plan filed with the Court included a proposal by Canwest LP's senior secured lenders to acquire the assets and assume certain operating liabilities of Canwest's publishing group for approximately $925 million. The Court approved a Sales and Investor Solicitation Process, pursuant to which Canwest LP sought offers for its business superior to the proposed credit acquisition. A superior offer was made by Postmedia.
McMillan LLP acted for The Bank of Nova Scotia, the Administrative Agent for Canwest LP's senior secured lenders. The deal team was led by Andrew Kent (restructuring), with assistance from Adam Maerov, Tushara Weerasooriya, Reema Kapoor and Tobias Whitfield (restructuring); John Clifford, Bruce Chapple, Sandra Sbrocchi, Les Chaiet and Marie Bruchet (corporate/M&A); Mickey Yaksich and Ryan Morris (tax); David Slan, Andrea Onn, Kathryn Borgatti and Maria Holder (real estate); Sean Farrell and Stewart Ash (public markets); David Elenbaas, Lyndsay Wasser and Cheryl Thacker (employment and labour relations); Karen Shaver and Kim Ozubko (pensions); Michael Peterson (environmental); Sharon Groom (intellectual property); Sorcha O'Carroll (competition and Investment Canada); Hilary Clarke and Robert Wisner (litigation); and Jeffrey Rogers, Andrew McFarlane, Patrice Beaudin, Alexandra Labelle, Andrea St. Bernard and Puja Varma (debt products).
Representative counsel for the salaried employees and retirees of Canwest LP were Shibley Righton LLP led by Arthur Jacques and Thomas McRae and Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP led by Janice Payne, Steven Levitt and Christopher Rootham.
Counsel for the special committee of the directors of Canwest Global Communications was Ogilvy Renault LLP with a team that comprised Mario Forte, Norman Steinberg, Ruth Wahl, Ava Yaskiel and Andrea Brewer.