The largest publisher of daily newspapers in Canada is now a penny stock.
On Friday, Canwest Global Communications Corp. subordinate voting shares closed at 93 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company's stock traded at $18.55 when it bought the Vancouver Sun, Province, and several other daily and community papers from Hollinger Inc. in 2000.
The Asper family controls Canwest Global, which owns Canwest Mediaworks Publications. This subsidiary owns the Vancouver Sun, Province, National Post, and many other newspapers.
Canwest Global president and CEO Leonard Asper collects a $900,000 salary. He is eligible for incentive fees, including life insurance and pension payments, of up to 200 percent of his base, according to company documents filed with regulators.
Canwest Mediaworks president and CEO Dennis Skulsky collects a $650,000 annual salary. In addition, he qualifies for additional compensation, including life insurance and a pension plan, of up to 62.5 percent of his base, according to company documents.
"In the event of termination without cause, Mr. Skulsky is entitled to receive a payment equivalent to two years base salary and average annual bonus earned during the preceding three year period," the company's November, 2007 management information circular states.
Each of the Asper siblings--Leonard, David, and Gail--owns 25,595,325 multiple voting shares, which give them control of the company.
A legal agreement stipulates that the multiple voting shares cannot be sold for an amount greater than 115 percent of the value of subordinate voting shares in the event of a corporate takeover.
In addition, Leonard Asper has options to buy 734,902 shares and owns 33,200 reserved share units, according to the company's management information circular, which was distributed to shareholders last November.
His brother David has 216,499 options and owns 10,300 reserved share units, which are the equivalent of the subordinate voting shares; sister Gail has 25,206 stock options, according to the management information circular.