The Hollinger Incorporated [H-Inc] versus Hollinger International [H-Intl] poker game continues apace with Lord Conrad Black's long-expected legal move late last week to force a shareholder vote on the £665 million ($1.2bn; €988.8m) sale of the UK's Telegraph Group to the Barclay brothers.

Boomed H-Inc, Black's Toronto-based holding company: "We do not believe that H-Intl should be allowed to disenfranchise shareholders and deny them their fundamental rights."

But the legal challenge does not necessarily mean H-Inc will oppose the sale, "since we have not been provided with all of the necessary information, including details regarding the transaction, possible alternatives and future plans for the company, to make such a decision".

Many onlookers see the move as a negotiating ploy, to force H-Intl into talks with the financially beleaguered peer. Pursuit of the lawsuit will cast Black's bread upon the stormy waters of jurisprudence, given that the case will be heard by Judge Leo Strine, Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery.

In earlier hearings the Chancellor declared himself unimpressed by His Lordship whom he found "evasive and unreliable", adding that "his explanations of key events and of his own motivations do not have the ring of truth" [WAMN: 27-Feb-04].

STOP PRESS Mon 05-Jul-04 07.45 GMT
Date Set for Telegraph Hearing
A Delaware court has set a July 23 date for hearing Lord Black's lawsuit demanding a shareholder vote on the sale of the Telegraph Group by Hollinger International.

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