Lord Conrad Black’s embattled newspaper group Hollinger International is threatened with a $46.8 million (€43.04m; £29.72m) lawsuit from Canadian media giant CanWest.

This latest legal challenge – disclosed in Hollinger's report and accounts filed last week – follows an action instigated by one of the group’s largest investors, New York investment firm Tweedy Browne, owner of nearly 18% of Hollinger stock.

CanWest’s litigious leanings follow a dispute over its C$3.2 billion purchase in 2000 of Hollinger’s regional newspapers. Both sides reportedly are anxious to settle out of court but the sum claimed by CanWest could zap Hollinger’s current year earnings in their entirety. In the six months to June 30, net earnings amounted to $25.8m.

“Inability to resolve disagreements of amounts owing may result in matters being referred to arbitration or formal court proceedings,” read a Hollinger statement.

CanWest also figures in the concerns of Tweedy Brown which, along with other investors, is mightily disgruntled at the payment of $74 million by CanWest to Black and other Hollinger directors [WAMN: 19-Aug-03] rather than to the company itself.

Noblesse oblige?

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff