The Family Behind the Wall Street Journal
The Bancroft family, which is opposing Rupert Murdoch's bid for Dow Jones, has owned the publisher of the Wall Street Journal since the turn of the 20th Century.
Dow Jones was founded in 1882. Clarence Barron–- the namesake for Barron’s magazine –- bought the company in 1902 for $130,000.
The marriage between Barron’s stepdaughter and Hugh Bancroft lay the foundation for Bancroft family domination of Dow Jones. By 1928, the Bancrofts controlled the company.
Today, the Brancroft family owns about 64% of the company’s voting shares. The stock is held by as many as 20 members of the family.
News Corp.’s bid comes at a difficult time for the newspaper industry as costs of newsprint, production and distribution continue to rise, eroding profits at The Wall Street Journal and other papers.
Dow Jones' lagging stock price, analysts say, made the Bancroft family more willing to consider the buyout offer, even though over 50% of family members.
Two weeks ago, News Corp. sent a letter to Dow Jones and the Bancroft family trustees outlining the proposal and attempting to assuage any concerns the family might have about the editorial integrity of The Journal, said CNBC's David Faber, who broke the story Tuesday morning.
Porter Bibb, managing partner at MediaTech Capital Partners, said he didn’t believe Murdoch had met with any members of the Bancroft family to discuss the deal.
“This is about the fifth or sixth offer (Murdoch) has floated over the last five years for Dow Jones,” Bibb told CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “One has to begin to wonder how much confidence he has in (CNBC’s) competition that’s going to hit the airwaves in the fourth quarter this year. Fox Business needs something like The Wall Street Journal to boost it.”
Bibb said he expected the Bancroft’s trustees to invite other bidders to make an offer for Dow Jones.
“The Bancroft family will never see another moment like this,” he said. “There will be a new owner sometime over the next several months.”
But Bibb said he didn’t think News Corp would acquire Dow Jones.
“Private equity is going to come out of the woodwork,” he said. “Some of the major media companies and some of the big Internet companies (will make offers.) Think what this would do for Yahoo!, Google or Microsoft as a content provider.”