CanWest auction heats up – Canpages in the mix?

The sale of CanWest Global Communications Corp. is expected to hit a crescendo in the next few weeks as rival groups begin their fight to buy the company’s newspapers and the Globe and Mail is reporting today that two leading consortiums have stepped up.

Paul Godfrey, the president of CanWest’s National Post newspaper and former chief executive officer of the Sun Media chain, is leading one consortium. Sources say he has joined with Vancouver-based phone directory company CanPages Inc., which is backed by U.S. private equity firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.

However, Mr. Godfrey’s consortium will face stiff competition from a rival group that is said to include Vancouver-based Glacier Media Inc., a community newspaper business run by former investment banker Jon Kennedy. Glacier has stakes in 120 community papers and covets CanWest’s community publications.

The Canpages connection is an interesting one as they purchased GigPark, a tech startup run by Godfrey’s son, Noah Godfrey, last summer.

While Glacier Media is involved in a huge networks of community papers, the most recognizable to our Vancouver readers will be the popular Business in Vancouver weekly.

In addition to these two leading consortiums, a number of suitors are interested in piecemeal bids including Torstar Corp. who is believed to be interested in acquiring the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and National Post.