Decision on Dow Jones due soon

Bancrofts meet to determine Mudoch's bid

A decision on Rupert Murdoch’s bid to buy Dow Jones could come as early as this week, as the controlling Bancroft family meets today to determine the company’s fate.

The family will convene after several members last week pushed for a gathering that would bring resolution to the month-old bid.

At the meeting, younger members of the family’s three controlling branches are expected to make a case for the sale to the older members of the family, many of whom are thought to be reluctant to divest the company.

Family owns more than 60% of Dow Jones voting shares and hold in their hands the power to accept or reject the bid from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to buy the company for $5 billion.

While some in the family are said to be concerned about placing control of the company with Murdoch, others are said to favor a sale but support the idea of an internal board that could monitor News Corp.’s control and keep the flagship Wall Street Journal at arm’s length from its new owner.

Company’s stock shot up nearly 15% in trading Friday on the heels of news that the company’s controlling shareholders will consider bids from News Corp. and other potential suitors.

Shares in Dow Jones climbed well past their recent 52-week high of $58.47, closing Friday at $61.20, up $7.89 on a 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 Bancrofts made a surprise about-face on Thursday after previously rejecting News Corp.’s offer. The family said in a statement that they would meet with Murdoch and other potential suitors as they consider various options for the company.

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.”

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