A meeting of the Dow Jones board of directors that’s set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in New York will determine whether the group will recommend a $5 billion sale of the company to Rupert Murdoch. The board is expected to give its thumbs-up to Murdoch’s bid.
But the greatest obstacle is still to come: the Bancrofts will meet Thursday to determine whether the clan that owns a 64% controlling stake in Dow Jones will agree with the board’s recommendation and vote in favor of a sale.
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, their protests are not expected to sway the board’s decision. But they could be enough to convince the Bancrofts to balk on Thursday at approving the sale.
Insiders said Tuesday that the outcome of the Bancrofts’ decision at the Thursday meet was still too close to call.
If a sale does not go through, it will likely send Dow Jones price stock plummeting, as investors turn up the heat on Dow Jones over how it expects to improve on its relatively paltry $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. spokesman declined to comment.