Hollinger Payout Brightens Black's New Year

20 December 2004

Despite his troubled dealings with Hollinger International [H-Intl], ousted chairman Lord Conrad Black can look forward to a new year gift from the company in the form of a special dividend.

US-based H-Intl, publisher of the Chicago Sun Times among others, is to distribute $500 million (€376m, £258m) to shareholders from proceeds of the sale of UK flagship Telegraph Newspapersearlier this year to secretive British twin tycoons, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay.

Black and fellow former executives are at the centre of fraud investigations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations - hotly denied - that they illegally pocketed company profits.

But as His Lordship is still a significant shareholder in H-Intl via his Canadian holding company Hollinger Incorporated [H-Inc], he can still expect a generous slice of the dividend cake.

The SEC investigations have delayed the posting of financial results for H-Intl but the company hopes to file its annual report by the end of this year and further results early in 2005.

It refuses to comment on the forthcoming payout to Black, although interim chairman/ceo Gordon Paris says: "Following the special dividend ... we will have sufficient cash to fund further operations and obligations and to avail ourselves of strategic opportunities that would position the company for continued value creation for all of our shareholders."

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