Dow Jones shares shot up nearly15% in trading Friday on the heels of the news that the company’s controlling shareholders will consider bids from News Corp. and other potential suitors for the parent of the Wall Street Journal.
Shares in Dow Jones climb well past their recent 52-week high of $58.47, closing Friday at $61.20, up $7.89 on much higher-than-usual volume of trading. The unsolicited $5 billion bid that News Corp. made for Dow Jones last month valued the company at $60 a share.
The Bancroft clan that controls Dow Jones did a surprise about-face on Thursday after previously rejecting News Corp.’s offer. The Bancrofts said in a statement that they would meet with News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and other potential suitors as they consider various options for the company. No timetable was specified for the meeting with Murdoch. A News Corp. spokesman declined comment Friday on whether a meeting been set.
The Bancrofts’ surprising change of heart move spurred speculation that the release of the statement was designed to spur other bidders to make a formal offer for the company. In Thursday’s statement, the clan that has controlled Dow Jones since 1902 stressed that its overriding concern was to ensure that potential acquirers of the company would maintain “the level of commitment to editorial independence, integrity and journalistic freedom that is the hallmark of Dow Jones.”