Dow Jones Shares Jump on Newspaper Report About Sale Interest

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(AP) Shares of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, jumped about 16 per cent in active trading Monday after a newspaper reported that members of the Bancroft family, the company’s controlling shareholders, are exploring the possibility of a sale.

Dow Jones’s shares rose $5.68, or 15 per cent, to $42.73 in heavy trading of 1.8 million shares midday Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, compared with average daily volume of 576,000 shares.

The New York Post reported in Monday editions that younger members of the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones through super-voting shares, were renewing calls for a sale of the company.

A company spokesman declined to comment on the report.

In April, Dow Jones approved a measure that allowed the members of the Bancroft family to maintain voting control of the company even if they sell off more of their holdings in it.

Some shareholders and shareholder advocates had objected, saying it would unfairly allow the controlling shareholders to reduce their economic stake without sacrificing voting control. The descendants of Jane W.W. Bancroft control Dow Jones through a special class of stock that has 10 votes per share, versus one vote each for ordinary shares.

Prior to their sharp rebound Monday, Dow Jones shares had been off 14 per cent this year on concerns about a prolonged slump in the business advertising market upon which the Journal relies very heavily.

In an effort to bring in more consumer advertising, the Journal is launching a Saturday edition next month with more lifestyle and leisure coverage.

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