Shaw to combine resources and build Canadian powerhouse with $2B CanWest acquisition

Canadian MSO Shaw Communications thinks it can restore the luster to the CanWest television business and at the same time build a multimedia and wireless empire that puts it on level footing with Canada's biggest cable operator, Rogers Communications. And it's putting up $2 billion to back its claim.

Shaw is consolidating its ownership of CanWest by spending $2 billion to buy out the private equity part of Goldman Sachs Group, including a majority stake in cable channels HGTV Showcase and the Food Network, along with CanWest's remaining broadcast elements. Once it has complete control, Shaw will have "total flexibility in how we apply content over the various platforms," said President Peter Bissonnette.

This, in turn, will make Shaw "a major player in the communications industry and television industry in Canada," added founder J.R. Shaw.

A key component of what makes the deal so potent is still in the wings. Shaw will launch wireless service in 2011 and with the new cable and broadcasting content it's acquired, will be able to offer a nifty package of content on smart phones, making it immediately competitive with telco providers like Telus, Bell and the ubiquitous Rogers.

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