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Dow Jones accepts Murdoch’s bid

Bancroft family approval must come next

The Dow Jones board of directors late Tuesday voted to accept Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion offer for the publishing conglom, parent company of the Wall Street Journal.

But a bigger obstacle to the sale must yet be overcome: the Bancroft family — with their 64% controlling stake — must agree with the board recommendation and vote to sell.

While a number of members of the board, including Chris Bancroft and Leslie Hill, are Bancroft family members who are considered to be reluctant about a sale to News Corp., their protests apparently did not sway the board’s decision. However, they could be enough to persuade the Bancrofts not to sell. The Associated Press reported late Tuesday that the Bancrofts are likely to meet about the sale Monday.

Insiders said that as of Tuesday afternoon, the Bancrofts’ decision was too close to call.

If a sale does not go through, it will likely send Dow Jones stock price plummeting, as investors up the heat on Dow Jones over how it expects to improve on its relatively small $38 million in operating income last year.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no new bidders had emerged for the company, though several analysts were suggesting that News Corp. itself had a backup plan if the Bancrofts rejected their overtures: a purchase of the Financial Times from Pearson.

A News Corp. rep declined to comment.

See related Green Hollywood story — Unlikely eco-warrior: Rupert Murdoch.

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