Bancroft Charity Trust Adopts Dow Jones Stock Sell-Off Plan

By: Mark Fitzgerald

A charitable trust founded by a deceased member of the Bancroft family, majority owners of Dow Jones & Company, will begin selling 6,500 shares of common stock in The Wall Street Journal publisher each trading day for the next year, the company announced.

Jane’s Trust, established by Jane Bancroft Cook, a former Dow Jones director and major stockholder, on Jan. 31 will put into effect the prearranged trading plan required by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b5-1.

Dow Jones said this rule “permits directors, officers and other parties deemed to be insiders to adopt written plans at a time when they are not in possession of material nonpublic information” to sell shares at a predetermined volume and price parameters.

Jane’s Trust board of trustees includes one current and one former Dow Jones director, Dow Jones said in a statement. Mark Donohue, director of investor relations for Dow Jones, told E&P disclosures about those individuals was not available.

Under this plan, the trust will sell 6,500 shares if the market price of the common stock is $35.00 per share or higher. Sales will cease earlier than one year if an aggregate of $20 million in proceeds are generated, Dow Jones said. Proceeds will be applied to the charitable purposes of the trust.

The daily amount of stock amounts to less than 1% of the average daily trading volume in Dow Jones common stock, which the company said over the past year was 679,453. Disclosures about the trust’s total shareholding was also unavailable, Donohue said.

The trust in 2003 twice adopted Rule 10b5-1 plans, both times for 6,500 shares per trading day. The July 2003 sale generated aggregate proceeds of $20 million, Donohue said, while the October 2003 sale generated an aggregate $40 million.

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