U.S. News

Key Dow Jones Holder to Vote Against Murdoch Bid: WSJ


A branch of the Bancroft family will vote against News Corp's $5 billion bid for Dow Jones, putting pressure on Rupert Murdoch to raise his offer, The Wall Street Journal reported its Web site Friday.

Shares of Dow Jones , which publishes The Wall Street Journal, were down 1.06 percent at $53.15 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The newspaper also reported that the Denver branch of the family, which holds 9.1 percent of Dow Jones's voting stock and supports the News Corp. deal, wants Murdoch to raise his $60-per-share bid.

The Denver trust has argued that shareholders who own super-voting Class B shares should get a 10 percent to 20 percent premium.

News Corp has no intention of raising its bid, the newspaper reported.

An official at Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, which reportedly administers the trust, declined to comment. News Corp and Dow Jones officials were not available to comment.

The report comes after Bancroft family members met advisers in Boston Monday to review Murdoch's offer. Dow Jones owns the Journal, the Barron's investor newspaper, the MarketWatch.com financial news Web site and the Dow Jones Newswires.

Some members of the family oppose the sale because they fear that Murdoch would meddle with Dow Jones's news operations to further his business interests.

Michael Elefante, a Dow Jones board member and chief trustee of the Bancroft family's shares, is polling family members on whether they would favor the buyout.

He is expected to get the results by early to mid-next week, a source familiar with the matter said.

Internet entrepreneur Brad Greenspan said on Friday he is still in talks with the Bancrofts over a competing proposal.

Greenspan wants to load up Dow Jones with debt to fund digital expansion, and wants to start a third U.S. business news channel. He also has proposed lending the Bancrofts money to buy out family members who want to sell their shares at $60 each.