according to the financial times
Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday clinched victory in his battle to acquire Dow Jones after securing support from enough Bancroft family members to clinch majority backing for his $5bn cash offer for the owner of The Wall Street Journal.
Aline van Duyn on Rupert Murdoch’s battle for Dow Jones
The breakthrough came after nearly four months of often torturous negotiations between the media mogul and the fractious clan of heirs to a family which has controlled the leading US financial newspaper for more than a century.
In a statement, Mr Murdoch, News Corp chairman and chief executive, said: ”I am deeply gratified at the level of support we have received from the Bancroft family and its trustees. Given the Bancrofts’ long and distinguished history as custodians of Dow Jones, we appreciate how difficult this decision was for some family members. I want to offer the Bancrofts my thanks, and an assurance that our company and my family will be equally strong custodians.”
The Bancroft family said: “After much soul-searching, hard work and analysis by Bancroft family members, trustees and advisors, shares held by family members and trustees representing approximately 37 per cent of the company’s voting power have been committed to support the News Corp transaction.
“It is our most fervent hope that in the years to come, The Wall Street Journal will continue to enjoy, and deserve, the universal admiration and respect in which it is held all over the world, and that the Journal and Dow Jones’s other print and online publications will continue to achieve great things as part of a larger, well-capitalized, global organization committed to upholding the long tradition of journalistic excellence, independence and editorial integrity of which we are all so proud.”
The family’s statement followed a letter to Wall Street Journal readers from Gordon Crovitz, the newspaper’s publisher, who said on Tuesday night that “a majority of the Bancrofts has decided to sell its shares to News Corp.”
Mr Murdoch overcame objections from inside and outside the family that his hands-on editorial style and tabloid newspaper sensibility would tarnish the Journal’s reputation for high editorial standards and independence.
His $60 a share offer, a 65 per cent premium to Dow Jones’ share price before news of News Corp’s interest emerged, carried the day after he agreed to a last-minute deal sweetener by helping to cover millions of dollars of legal and advisory costs incurred by the Bancroft family.
The 76-year-old mogul, who has in the past 50 years built News Corp from a small Australian newspaper group into a global media giant, has had his eye on the Journal for at least a decade.
By adding it to a stable of media properties that run from tabloids such as The Sun in London and the New York Post, to Fox News Channel and MySpace, Mr Murdoch cements his position as the dominant force in global media. Mr Murdoch has pledged to invest in the Journal as part of his plan to build up a global business news franchise. The Journal could lend credibility to a new business channel planned by Fox in the US, which will rival CNBC.
The Bancrofts control 64 per cent of Dow Jones’s voting shares, held through a complex series of privately-held trusts. More than half the family votes, representing more than 30 per cent of Dow Jones’s overall voting shares, are needed for News Corp to be confident that its offer will be voted through by a majority of the company’s shareholders.
A turning point came on Tuesday after a Bancroft family trust holding around 9 per cent of Dow Jones’s voting shares dropped its push for a higher price from Mr Murdoch. Instead, it agreed to back the deal after receiving assurances that the family’s fees would be paid as part of the deal.
Before this Denver Trust gave in, Bancroft family votes representing around 28 per cent of the company’s total votes were understood to be backing a sale to News Corp. The Denver Trust votes brings the total to at least 37 per cent.
The deal is not expected to run into any regulatory obstacles.
Shares in Dow Jones rose more than 10 per cent on Tuesday to close at $56.79.
So know that these deal has been finalized, leaving the ABN AMRO tussle on going…who wants to bet who will win that one