Shares Move Will Dilute Black's Power at Hollinger

05 April 2004

A plan to issue a C$211 million ($160.19m; €132.57m; £87.74m) tranche of new shares in Hollinger Incorporated [H-Inc] will further loosen the grip of Lord Conrad Black on the company's tiller -- and that of its subsidiary Hollinger International [H-Intl], publisher of Britain's Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post and the Chicago Sun-Times.

H-Inc's main aim is to relieve its current liquidity crisis via the sale of around twenty million new Series II preference shares at C$10.50 each.

This would have the effect of diluting Black's stake in the company from 30% to 17%, although his controversial preferential voting control would slip only marginally from 73% to 67%.

The cash raised would be partially used to buy back 35% of a $120m bond issue that has been threatening H-Inc's survival since a $7m missed interest payment last month.

The mooted sale will close tomorrow, April 6. But given the uncertainty engulfing the company, the big question is whether there are sufficient high-rollers who share His Lordship's taste for risk?

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff