Settlement In Pulitzer Suit Updates Throughout
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Four members of the Pulitzer family who were part of a lawsuit in a fight for control of Pulitzer Publishing Co. stock have reached an out-of-court settlement in the case.
The company said today that the agreement calls for Clement C. Moore II and Gordon, William and James Weir to dismiss all claims in the litigation. In exchange, the publishing company agreed to purchase their shares representing 22 percent of the company’s outstanding stock for about $95 million.
U.S. District Judge William L. Hungate told the Moore-Weir group to present settlement stipulations to the court by June 16.
″I hope it comes to some sort of an equitable solution,″ Moore said. ″No one wants to beat up on the other guy in court.″
Hungate delayed the bench trial involving the remaining plaintiffs - Kate Davis Pulitzer Quesada, and her sons, Peter W. Quesada and Ricardo - until at least May 21. The company offered the Quesadas the same price for their 20 percent of the stock but said it will not be obligated to enter such an agreement if they proceed with the trial in their dispute. That trial was scheduled to begin Monday, but has been postponed until May 21.
Moore, the Quesadas and the Weirs had contended in a suit that Joseph Pulitzer Jr., Michael Pulitzer and their cousin David E. Moore acted fraudulently in setting up a voting trust for nearly 80 percent of the publishing company’s shares and resisting a takeover bid by Michigan financier A. Alfred Taubman. The Pulitzers and Moore control 54 percent of the company’s stock.
Taubman had earlier offered $500 million for the Pulitzer stock, but later upped his bid to $625 million. Both of those bids were rejected by the majority shareholders.
Joseph and Michael Pulitzer have declined to comment on the litigation and would not elaborate on the statement they issued on the settlement today.
Pulitzer Publishing Co. owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and newspapers in Arizona and the Chicago area as well as several radio and television stations.
The majority stockholders last month amended the articles of incorporation to permit a public offering of shares, a move Michael Pulitzer said was ″designed to address the concerns of those shareholders who are dissatisfied by giving them the opportunity to sell their shares at market prices.″
The offering was put on hold, however, pending results of the dissidents’ lawsuit and a counterclaim accusing Peter Quesada of trying to pressure the company into paying ″greenmail″ and violating the trust placed in him as a director of the firm.