CanWest CEO trying to stop sale of papers

Says improving economic conditions can only benefit everyone involved

Newly released court documents provide a glimpse into the infighting that occurred before CanWest Limited filed for bankruptcy protection last Friday. CEO Leonard Asper, whose company owes $1.5 billion dollars, accused the newspaper group’s secured lenders—–mainly Canada’s big banks—of putting their interests ahead of the company’s other creditors. He wrote in a January 4 letter that he “profoundly disagrees” with their decision to push the chain into “early filing.” The Bank of Nova Scotia is acting head of the secured creditors and, in a sharply-worded response, pointed out that Canwest still owes at least $100 million in payments on loans since last May, and that the secured lenders have been more than patient with the company.

Toronto Star