Final vote taken on Murdoch's offer
A resolution on News Corp.’s bid for Dow Jones could come this week, possibly as early as Monday.
The family is expected to take a final vote early this week on whether to accept Rupert Murdoch’s offer of $5 billion for the financial-news company.
Reports for and against a potential sale have been mounting over the last few days, as the Bancroft family has privately deliberated about the offer.
While several indications pointed to the family accepting the bid–including sources telling various newspapers that News had the necessary votes for approval–one faction of the family appeared to be unconvinced.
The so-called Denver branch of the family, which controls about 9% out of the total of 64% of voting shares controlled by the Bancrofts, was said to prepping for a no vote.
But the issue reportedly centered on price, not the future of the company’s journalistic legacy, which has been the more widespread concern among family members. That issue would be less likely to hold up a sale, observers said.
And one family member who had earlier opposed the sale, the former DJ exec William Cox, appeared to have changed his position in favor of a sale, several reports said.
Meanwhile, the debate within the reclusive family continued to spill into the public. Over the weekend, family member Crawford Hill published a letter on the Wall Street Journal’s Web site urging the family to accept the sale.
The letter showed that even those in favor of a sale admitted conditions were not ideal. But it still argued vigorously in favor of the offer, The letter noted that “it is sad we have to sell to him,”
but that it “is a tremendous business deal” that the family would be foolish to turn down, especially given the company’s notorious financial woes.
Previously, opponents such as Christopher Bancroft and Leslie Hill have publicly railed against the sale and solicited other bids. One potential deal had MySpace founder Brad Greenspan buying a percentage of shares, though the family showed few signs of accepting a partial sale.
If Murdoch succeeded in convincing the Bancrofts, the sale would likely speed through regulatory approvals, giving Murdoch control of the Wall Street Journal as well as a financial-news apparatus he would likely integrate in some form with his soon-to-be-launched Fox Business Channel.
If the bid failed, Murdoch is not thought to be interested in raising his price, and Dow Jones will likely remain in private hands at least in the near term.