Black May Not Block Hollinger Breakup

28 May 2004

Group to Focus on Telegraph Sale

Lord Conrad Black, beleaguered former chairman/ceo of Hollinger International [H-Intl], surprised analysts and media observes alike yesterday by implying he may not oppose the piecemeal sale of the group's newspaper properties.

Although unceremoniously ousted from H-Intl last year, Black still holds some potent cards as chairman of Hollinger Incorporated [H-Inc], the newspaper empire's largest shareholder -- thanks to a Byzantine preferential share structure that allows the peer to control 73% of the votes via a stake of just thirty percent.

Following a special H-Inc shareholder meeting Thursday, Black told the press he was willing to consider a deal that created value for shareholders: " We would look at something that makes sense," he said.

Meantime, H-Intl's corporate review committee -- formed to appraise the group's options following Black's ousting -- decided Thursday it will concentrate on the sale of the Telegraph Group, the UK newspaper business that generates almost fifty percent of its parent's turnover and profitability.

The decision was made following a meeting with investment bank Lazard which acts as H-Intl's financial advisor on asset disposals.

Said Gordon Paris, Telegraph Group's interim chairman: "The corporate review committee has decided that, at this point in time, the focus of the strategic process should be the potential sale of the UK assets."

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff