Black Prepares for SEC Quiz as Vultures Circle Hollinger

17 December 2003

Lord Conrad Black will next week appear before a US inquiry into the financial dealings of media group Hollinger International.

Canadian-born Black stepped down as ceo of Hollinger last month after it emerged he and other executives had received millions of dollars in 'non-compete' payments that had not been sanctioned by the board [WAMN: 18-Nov-03].

These revelations sparked a formal inquiry by America's Securities and Exchange Commission. Black is scheduled to appear before the SEC on Monday, making him one of the first to be interviewed in the investigation.

• Meanwhile, London stockbroking firm Collins Stewart has made the first concrete bid for Hollinger's Telegraph Group unit, parent of UK daily broadsheets the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.

Collins Stewart, which is backed by a group of institutional investors, is said to have bid up to £500 million ($875m; €710m) for the unit. Should it succeed, the firm plans to float its acquisition immediately.

However, Hollinger may have other options to raise cash. It has emerged that executives recently held talks with Texas-based investment group Hicks Muse Tate & Furst about buying into the media group.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff