Hollinger Inc. Will Make Key Debt Payment

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Conrad Black’s Hollinger Inc. said this afternoon (March 23) that it has notified the trustee of the $120 million in bonds that it will make its overdue first interest payment on March 30.

The interest, amounting to approximately $7.4 million at the time, was due March 1. Under terms of the 11.875% senior secured notes due in 2011, March 30 is the deadline to avoid a default that could threaten Hollinger Inc.’s control of Hollinger International, the publisher of London’s Daily Telegaph, the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. In a default, the super-voting shares that give Hollinger Inc. a 72.3 voting stake and 29.7% equity interest would have gone to note holders.

Hollinger Inc. said to raise the funds it “realized on certain assets and sold, on a private basis, 275,000 shares of Class A Common Stock of Hollinger International. The Financial Times reported Monday that Hollinger Inc. had spurned a court-ordered offer by Hollinger International to loan money to make the payment.

The announcement of the interest payment came on the same day as Hollinger International’s deadline for proposals to buy all or parts of its newspaper empire.

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