U.S. News

Bancroft Expects Dow Jones Decision by Friday


A senior member of the family that controls Dow Jones & Co. said on Monday that he expects the family to decide by Friday whether to sell itself to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $5

"We're still undecided," Christopher Bancroft told reporters at the hotel where the family was meeting to mull the offer. "Everyone has to decide for himself." Bancroft said the meeting would continue for another hour, but that he was leaving early to return to Texas where he lives and works.

Bancroft family members are meeting in Boston to discuss Murdoch's offer for Dow Jones. The family owns 64% of Dow Jones's voting shares, and their agreement is critical for Murdoch's bid to succeed.

Dow Jones Talks Intensify

Some of the Bancrofts oppose Murdoch's bid fearing he would compromise the editorial independence of Dow Jones's news operations, particularly its flagship news property, The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the meeting, which started after lunch, lasted several hours and included a series of presentations by family bankers, trustees and Dow Jones board members.

Bankers and lawyers reviewed the pros and cons of Murdoch's offer, according to a person who participated. Their conclusion was clear: While they viewed the offer as a substantial one that would give Dow Jones much-needed resources to expand, they acknowledged that it would be difficult to guarantee that The Wall Street Journal's editorial independence would survive a sale intact even under the guidelines agreed to by Dow Jones' board and News Corp. 

Will They Or Will They Not?

With both shares of Dow Jones and News Corp. slipping, the market seems to think that the deal will not happen. 

Paul Kagan, chairman and CEO of PK Worldmedia told CNBC's 'Asia Squawkbox' that, "I have believed all along that this is a smart move for Dow Jones to do and they ought to do it.  What they ought to do is counter offer Murdoch and hold him to his valuation and try to retain a portion of the company". 

Kagan added that Murdoch was doing this deal to build his new global financial news network.  The Bancrofts would do well to ask for a stake in that as it would bring value for stakeholders as well as retaining an interest in the future of the business going forward. 

Dow Jones shares fell less than 1% on the New York Stock Exchange. News Corp. shares less than 1%.