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Alliance Atlantis Finds Buyer in CanWest

Ever since Toronto broadcasting powerhouse Alliance Atlantis was put on the sales block, people in the media industry have been speculating who the potential buyer would be. Playback magazine had a front-page poll listing the possibilities as Corus, CanWest, Astral, Rogers and Quebecor. However the news this morning is that Winnipeg-based CanWest, owner of Global and the National Post, is in the lead.

CanWest would partner with Goldman Sachs in the US to purchase Alliance Atlantis for 2.3 billion dollars. Goldman's part of the purchase would include Alliance's half of the CSI franchise - sadly, I'll no longer be able to use CSI in my defense of Canadian television programming - while a new subsidiary of CanWest will take over broadcast specialty channels such as Showcase and the recently relaunched Slice channel.

At a benefit I attended in November hosted by Alliance Atlantis CEO Michael MacMillan, he ruminated about the company he started with a few of his roommates in a small Toronto apartment upon graduating from Queen's University. Now, it appears he'll be focusing on philanthropic activities like running Toronto East General Hospital's fundraising campaign.

(photo: CPimages/Frank Gunn)


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