Black Puts $60m In Escrow For Liability Settlements

22 January 2004

Embattled newspaper tycoon Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour has filed an undertaking with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that he will place $60 million (€47.44m; £32.69m) in two escrow (bonded) accounts as a condition of the $466.5m takeover bid for Hollinger Incorporated (H-Inc) by Britain's Barclay twins.

The escrow action was triggered by a dispute between Black and Hollinger International (H-Intl), the operating company, which ousted him as chairman and demanded repayment of disputed management and other fees.

H-Intl has also filed suit against its Black-controlled parent company H-Inc, which owns 30% of its equity and 73% of its voting rights.

The sealing of $60m in escrow accounts reduces the funds from the Barclays deal that could (if completed) flutter into the outstretched hands of Black and his private investment vehicle Ravelston, through which he controls H-Inc.

Press Holdings International, the Barclays' holding vehicle for their media properties, will also retain $44m of the purchase price against the possibility that any warranties or representations by Black or Ravelston prove inaccurate. PHI emphasized it will not assume any liabilities on behalf of Lord Black.

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