CanWest, the Canadian media firm which owns 45% of TV3, yesterday confirmed that it had started the process of selling its shareholding.

A spokesperson for CanWest said that staff in Dublin were informed about the process yesterday.

At its AGM last week, CanWest's CEO Leonard Asper indicated that a reduction in corporate debt remained a high priority for the group. He said this might involve selling assets 'no longer strategic to the company'. Yesterday evening the CanWest spokesperson said that TV3 was part of that process.

Within the last two years, CanWest has sold its 30% shareholding in UTV in Northern Ireland.

CanWest has appointed Hawkpoint Partners, a boutique investment bank in London, to handle the process.

There is no price tag on TV3. The CanWest spokesman said that the price would be a matter for negotiation with the potential buyer.

TV3's other shareholders are Granada TV (45%) and Windmill Lane.