Big Dow Jones Stakeholder Urges Bancrofts To Sell

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By: E&P Staff

Calling the $60-a-share offer from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. “a fairly attractive transaction price,” the largest outside shareholder of Dow Jones & Co. is urging the controlling Bancroft family to green light the deal, The Financial Times reported on its Web site Wednesday.

Brian Roger, chairman and chief investment officer of T. Rowe Price, told the FT that he doesn’t believe Dow Jones’ current management has a plan to get its stock up that high. The bid valued at $5.2 billion, represents a 67% premium on the company’s stock price before news of the Murdoch offer surfaced.

“There might be other buyers more palatable to them,” Rogers told FT reporter Deborah Brewster. “But who’s to say Rupert Murdoch is all that bad?”

All told, the far-flung Bancroft family controls a 64% voting stake in Dow Jones. Family members controlling 52% of voting shares have said they oppose the News Corp. deal, and as a result, the company’s board has taken no action on the offer.

According to the most recent report, T. Rowe Price holds a 11.54% share. Its mutual funds have a combined stake of a little more than 6%.

Rogers said the Murdoch offer would prove that stake a good investment. “Without that acceptance, we would not have a good investment,” he added.

Rogers speculated that Murdoch could change the minds of some voting share holders if the offer were sweetened to $68.

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