Dow Jones Board OKs News Corp. Bid

NEW YORK The board of Dow Jones Tuesday voted in favor of News Corp.’s $5 billion offer for the company. That leaves one last hurdle for News Corp.: approval by the Bancroft family, which controls 64 percent of the company’s voting power.

In a statement issued by Dow Jones today, the company said that Michael Elefante, a representative of the Bancroft family and a director of Dow Jones, informed the firm that the family was “evaluating the proposed transaction.” According to a report in the Dow Jones-owned Wall Street Journal, the Bancroft family, which has been divided over the sale, is set to meet Monday to begin considering the deal.

“As part of the approval of the bid, the Dow Jones board of directors reviewed the basic terms of a draft merger agreement and an editorial agreement negotiated by Dow Jones and News Corp.,” the company said.

News Corp. first made its $60 a share offer for Dow Jones, owners of the WSJ and several other well-known financial brands, three months ago. Since then, News Corp. announced the launch of the Fox Business Network in October.

“News Corp. is confident that, in combination with its global content and distribution platforms, Dow Jones will become an even more formidable and respected company,” News Corp. said in a statement.

The WSJ reported in a story yesterday: “Mr. Elefante is expected to give the family several days to make a decision, suggesting a final resolution could be achieved some time next week.

“However, the Bancroft family remains sharply divided on a sale to News Corp. While some members are open to a deal, others have been looking hard for an alternative. Christopher Bancroft, 55 years old, a Dow Jones director who serves as a trustee overseeing shares that account for about 15 percent of the company’s total shareholder votes, has spent the past several weeks approaching hedge funds, private-equity firms and others in an attempt to buy enough shares of Dow Jones to block a sale.”