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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Lord Black Ousted from Chairmanship Contd...

The suit added that they had concealed their self-dealing from HII's public shareholders. These revelations of fraud enraged HII's shareholders; their demand for compensation was met in January 2005, through the sale proceeds of The Telegraph, the British newspaper owned by HII.

Background: Black Builds a Feudal Empire

Conrad Moffat Black belonged to a wealthy family in Toronto, Canada. His father was the President of Canadian Breweries, a part of Argus Corporation (Argus).3 Black's father was also a board member and major shareholder at Argus. Black initially enrolled at Upper Canada College in History, but was expelled from there for selling exam papers. He completed his graduation from Carleton University in 1965 and followed up with a post graduate degree in history from McGill University. In 1970, he also got a degree in French civil law from Laval University. Black got his first informal education on the corporate world through his father. With his friends, David Radler (Radler) and Peter G. White (White), the younger Black bought Sherbrooke Record, a small English daily in Quebec, Canada.

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In 1971, Black, White and Radler bought some more small newspapers in Canada, and co-founded the Sterling Newspapers Group. Black's father, with some other shareholders, set up Ravelston Corporation (Ravelston) in 1969.

Ravelston was a private company that represented more than 50% of the voting rights of Argus. In 1976, following the death of his father, Black became a board member at both Ravelston and Argus. Soon, he took over Ravelston by gaining a stake of around 70% in the company and became President of Argus. In 1978, Black acquired control of Hollinger Mines and changed it to Hollinger Argus Limited. In September 1985, Hollinger Argus Limited amalgamated with Argcen Holdings Inc. (formerly Dominion Stores Limited) and Labmin Resources Limited (formerly Labrador Mining and Exploration Company Limited) to form Hollinger Inc. (Hollinger). In the years that followed, Hollinger went on an expansion spree, acquiring numerous newspapers in Canada and the USA...

Excerpts >>

3] Argus Corporation (Argus) was an investment company whose portfolio consisted of companies like Canadian Breweries Ltd., Canadian Food Products Ltd., etc. Argus mainly derives its revenues from investment holdings in Hollinger Inc.


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