Hollinger claims it has secured 'epic' price for Telegraph Group

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The Independent Online

The owner of The Daily Telegraph, Hollinger International, has boasted of securing an "epic, above market price" for the newspaper, which it is selling to the Barclay brothers.

The owner of The Daily Telegraph, Hollinger International, has boasted of securing an "epic, above market price" for the newspaper, which it is selling to the Barclay brothers.

In court papers filed ahead of Conrad Black's lawsuit against the company, Hollinger said its ousted former chairman was attempting to sabotage the sale process and had described those investigating his business dealings as "truly evil people" and "fascists".

Lord Black of Crossharbour tried to "derail" the sale by hatching a plan to take Hollinger International and its controlling shareholder Hollinger Inc private, the court papers said.

He negotiated with potential investors as recently as early July after the sale of the Telegraph Group for £665m to the Barclays was announced on 22 June, Hollinger alleged.

"Hollinger International Inc has obtained an epic, above market price for its UK subsidiaries to sell the Telegraph to the Barclay brothers," the company claimed.

In addition to the £665m sale price, the Telegraph may soon have to spend £100m on a new printing plant, Hollinger said. The court papers also revealed there were 57 potential bidders for the Telegraph Group.

Hollinger, which has launched a £670m lawsuit against Lord Black, said his plan was intended to get rid of its "Special Committee" led by the former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission Richard Breeden, which is investigating allegations that he pocketed unauthorised payments.

The company revealed that in correspondence with one of his potential investors Lord Black wrote "we are fighting truly evil people" - including "Breeden and his fascists" - "who are a menace to capitalism as any sane person would define it".

At a court in Delaware yesterday Lord Black sought to block the sale of the Telegraph, arguing there should be a shareholder vote on the deal because the Telegraph Group represents "all, or substantially all" of Hollinger International's assets. Hollinger International insists the Telegraph Group is worth the same as the businesses being retained.

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