Sunday, August 5, 2007

It Aint Over Till It's Over

Murdoch's WSJ takeover may not be as smooth as was widely reported. A single Bancroft family member with firmly gritted teeth could put the whole thing on hold for a very long time. This little matter needs to be handled carefully:
Dow Jones & Co Inc said on Thursday it was seeking a correction on a Wall Street Journal story on board director Christopher Bancroft, in the first public spat over the newspaper's reporting of Rupert Murdoch's buyout offer.

The Journal and its owner, Dow Jones, are in a dispute over whether the company was considering paying the legal fees of Bancroft to get further support for the buyout by Murdoch's News Corp (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research).

The story, published in the Thursday edition of the newspaper, said the payment would be in exchange for Bancroft not using a trust he oversees to block the sale.

"Dow Jones is asking for a correction," said a Dow Jones spokeswoman.

She would not specify what was wrong.

A spokesman for the Journal said the newspaper had no plans to run a correction.
This little spat should be short-lived, however. Every man has his price, and the Bancrofts are self-evidently immoral toads:
In a memo sent to his business partner, Bruce Leadbetter, and attorney Pat Long, Bancroft said Dow Jones's payment of legal and advisory fees would ensure the family receives the same amount of money for its shares as other investors.

"What I want for my constituencies regarding the News Corp offer to merge with Dow Jones is: 1. The Wall Street Journal has the best editorial protection negotiable; 2. My family receives the same net for the Dow Jones Class B shares as the Dow Jones 'A' common shares received," he said in the letter seen by Reuters.

If Murdoch helps settle the fees, Bancroft said he would be willing to abstain from voting as as trustee.

No comments: