Hollinger Inc. Boards OKs March 31 Vote on Black Go-Private Plan

By: E&P Staff Hollinger Inc. said Tuesday its board of directors has unanimously agreed to go ahead with a March 31 vote on former Chairman Conrad Black's plan to take the holding company private -- even though a court-ordered inspector's report on alleged self-dealing by Black and others will not be complete by that time.

The board took the vote Monday after Justice Colin Campbell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice declined to rule on whether the vote must be delayed until Ernst & Young Co. complete the court-ordered report on related-party transactions at the company.

Hollinger Inc. is the Toronto-based holding company that owns a controlling voting staking in Chicago-based Hollinger Interntional, which publishes the Chicago Sun-Times and dozens of other dailies and weeklies. Black, who resigned as chairman in November amid allegations he and others "looted" Hollinger International, owns 78% of Hollinger Inc. through another holding company, Ravelston Corp. He is proposing buying all the stock he does not own and taking Hollinger private.

Black had threatened unspecified legal action if the board delayed the privitazation vote beyond March 31, Hollinger executives said in an affadavit filed with the Ontario court last week. Monday, Black sweetened his offer for Hollinger by 4.8%, giving it a value of about $47.4 million.


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