By: Alan Harman Independent shareholders join in Southam deal p. INDEPENDENT SHAREHOLDERS of Conrad Black's 60%-owned Telegraph PLC have agreed to join him in a joint-venture $259 million (Canadian) investment in Toronto-based Southam Inc. Minority shareholders, meeting in London, agreed to a proposal that will see Telegraph PLC pay Black's Hollinger Inc. almost $130 million for a 50% holding in a joint-venture firm that will own 18.7% of Southam, which operates 17 daily newspapers in Canada. Hollinger bought the Southam shares from Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, and received $109 million in interim financing from Torstar. The vote by minority shareholders in Telegraph PLC saw 53.5% of eligible shareholders approve the deal and 1.4% reject it. Some 45.1% did not vote. Hollinger did not vote at the meeting. A spokesman said the company had arranged alternative financing for the Southam purchase if the joint-venture proposal had been rejected. When Hollinger bought the shares last November, they represented a 22.5% stake in Southam but, in March, Southam sold Power Corp. of Canada a private issue of stock that cut Hollinger's holding in Southam to 18.7%. Hollinger's Canadian assets include Saturday Night magazine, Le Soleil in Quebec City and Le Droit in Ottawa. It owns Sterling Newspapers, a chain of weeklies, and 15% of the Financial Post in Toronto. Hollinger also publishes Israel's Jerusalem Post, owns 15% of the John Fairfax Group in Australia, and publishes some 200 dailies and weeklies in the United States.