Hollinger: Two Bids Expected for Telegraph Titles

10 February 2004

Two separate bids are expected this week for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the UK broadsheets owned by troubled media group Hollinger International.

Corporate financier Terry Smith, ceo of stockbroker Collins Stewart, is reportedly preparing a £475 million ($883m; €695m) offer on behalf of unnamed institutional investors. This offer is expected to be matched or bettered by Richard Desmond, owner of rival UK publisher Express Newspapers.

Hollinger is keen to offload assets as it tries to avoid a cash crisis. However, whether the auction will be completed is far from clear, as control of the company may soon change.

The reclusive billionaire Barclay brothers have agreed to buy Hollinger Inc -- the holding company that owns just 30% of the media group's stock but 73% of its voting rights -- from present proprietor Lord Conrad Black. But directors at Hollinger International, angry that the company is being sold over their heads, are trying to block this deal.

As a result, the publishing group is continuing with the asset sale, though it has been suggested that it may be doing so simply to force the Barclays to pay a premium price for the outstanding shares.

Data sourced from: Forbes.com; additional content by WARC staff