Hollinger International: The Lord Black Saga|Business Ethics|Case Study|Case Studies

Hollinger International: The Lord Black Saga

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG053
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 1999 - 2005
Pub. Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Hollinger International Inc.
Industry : Publishing
Countries : Canada, US, and UK

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Downfall of Lord Black

The year 1999 witnessed the beginning of the troubles at HII, in spite of its good revenues. National Post, its Toronto newspaper, reported losses of $44.3 million. The acquisition spree of HII was beginning to take its toll and it had built up a massive debt.

To bring down the quantum of debt, Black sold 40% of HII's assets that included almost all the Canadian newspapers and many of those in the US. HII's biggest deal was with CanWest, a Winnipeg-based television company, generating $27.8 million non-compete payments to Black, Radler and two other top executives. After the Twin Towers disaster on 11th September 2001, all HII's newspapers took a beating in revenues. The operating income of the Chicago-area papers fell by 70% to $10 million. Jerusalem Post made a loss of $3 million. The Telegraph and its sister publications had a drop in revenues from $89 million to $31 million. HII paid out $1 billion from the CanWest deal towards loan repayments...

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Other Allegations Against Black

The Special Committee, with Paris as Chairman, Graham W. Savage and Raymond G.H. Seitz, aided by Richard C. Breeden & Co., the law offices of Breeden, filed a detailed report with SEC dated August 2004.

The committee stated that through the years 1997-2003, Black and his affiliates took more than $400 million from the company, which was around 95.2% of HII's adjusted net income during that period (Refer Exhibit I for a brief note on the activities of Black and his associates). The committee investigated a lot of deceptions in the financial dealings of HII, including the initial complaints on management fees and non-compete payments. The following sections contain a synopsis of Black's practices.

Management fees

Black never took a salary from HII. Instead, he and his associates took a portion of the management fees paid to RMI...

Excerpts Contd... >>


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