Telegraph talks on reshuffle

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The Independent Online
Directors of The Telegraph will meet tomorrow to discuss the latest reorganisation planned by their chairman, Conrad Black, writes Mathew Horsman. The plan will once again give him total control of the newspaper group.

Following the board meeting, Mr Black is scheduled to address Telegraph shareholders at the company's annual meeting.

Under the restructuring plan, Mr Black's media holdings will be concentrated in American Publishing, a US business in which his master company, Hollinger, has a 64 per cent equity stake, but controls 97 per cent of the votes.

The plan calls for American Publishing to buy out shareholders of The Telegraph, including Hollinger's 58.5 per cent stake. .Minority shareholders would be offered cash or shares, and analysts have suggested a price of 450p per Telegraph share.

Mr Black's other media interests, in the US and Austrialia will also be injected in American Publishing, and to these will be added a block of shares in Southam, a large Canadian publisher.

The new structure will provide easier access to capital markets in the US, with a share structure that will allow American Publishing to raise additional funds without incurring debt or diluting Hollinger's control.

In its past three years The Telegraph has had a strained relationship with the City, parting company with its brokers, Cazenove, last year.