Black Plays Hollinger Buyout Card in Attempt to Stay Put

29 October 2004

Following an application to a Toronto court by shareholders in Hollinger Incorporated [H-Inc} - the company that theoretically controls publishing group Hollinger International [H-Intl] - to remove Lord Conrad Black as chairman/ceo of H-Inc, the Canadian born British peer counter-attacked with archetypal chutzpah.

On Thursday he responded with a proposal to buy out H-Inc at a price to be reviewed and set by an independent committee of the company's directors. He would so via his privately owned shell company Ravelston Management.

As always with such proposals from His Lordship, there is scepticism. Some observers see it simply as a delaying tactic to pre-empt any decision by the court. Others believe he might fund the purchase with cash said to be forthcoming as a result of the recent sale of Britain's Telegraph Group.

Quoth Black: "We are interested in pursuing a transaction that will benefit all minority shareholders of Hollinger Inc and are committed to doing so. We have made substantial progress, through two refinancings of the company, in resolving its liquidity issues and strengthening its balance sheet."

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