Hollinger buys Chicago paper

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NEW YORK - Hollinger, the North American publishing group controlled by Conrad Black, agreed to buy the Chicago Sun-Times and affiliated publications yesterday, paying USdollars 180m ( pounds 124m) cash, writes Larry Black.

The smaller of Chicago's two daily newspapers, with a circulation of 535,000, the Sun- Times is America's ninth-largest city daily.

The publishing group was sold to private investors by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in 1988, and has expanded to include some 60 weekly and bi-weekly papers in the Chicago area.

News Corporation, which also controls a Chicago television station, was obliged to sell the newspaper under US media cross-ownership rules. The group's equity holders include the New York investment firm Adler & Shaykin and senior management of the Sun Times Company.

The Sun-Times will join Hollinger's US division, a collection of dozens of small-town publications with a total daily circulation of about one million.