Conrad Black attacks Chicago Sun-Times

July 21, 2004 at 1:55 PM

WILMINGTON, Del., July 21 (UPI) -- The man who holds a controlling interest in global newspaper group Hollinger International wants a shareholder vote on plans to sell the London Telegraph.

Conrad Black, who owns most of Hollinger's voting shares, has filed a document in U.S. federal court demanding plans to sell the Telegraph for $1.33 billion be put to a shareholder vote, the Sun-Times reported Wednesday.

Black's brief says because Hollinger International is essentially a one-newspaper group, the Telegraph sale would amount to selling "substantially all" of the company.

His brief reflects his desire to halt the sale, something he cannot do through normal channels because a court has frozen his voting shares. That action stemmed from charges that Black and associates looted Hollinger International.

Anticipating arguments that the Chicago Sun-Times is also a major asset, Black ripped the newspaper as "second-place" in a two-newspaper town and "racked by circulation issues."

The Sun-Times noted circulation problems arose while Black ran the company and that in 1994 Black told Canada's Financial Post, "We feel it's a quality paper. It is quite profitable, and we're getting it, really, for not an awful lot of money."

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