UPDATE: More Surprises in DowJones/Murdoch Saga

By: E&P Staff

The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon that the Denver outpost of the Bancroft family, Dow Jones & Co.’s controlling shareholder, “is to vote against accepting News Corp.’s $60 a share offer, putting pressure on News Corp. to raise its offer, according to a person familiar with the situation.”

However, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch has indicated in the past that he would not hike the offer.

Later in the day, The New York Times, reported, William C. Cox Jr., one of the Bancroft family elders, “has switched positions, and now favors selling the company to Rupert Murdoch?s News Corporation, a person close to the family said yesterday.”

The paper also said that there is a move afoot for trustees to cast their own votes individually and not as a “block.” This seems aimed at Christopher Bancroft, the most outspoken of the family against the Murdoch deal.

Family trustees are set to vote early next week.

The Journal had reported: “The Denver trust, which holds 9.1% of Dow Jones’s voting stock, is seen as an important faction within the Bancroft family,” the Journal article observes. “The trust is seen as a seller but had been pushing for a higher price from News Corp….

“The Denver trust has been one of the most closely watched among Dow Jones management and News Corp. executives, according to people familiar with the matter. The Bancroft family is divided about whether to accept the offer, with some prominent members arguing strongly against the deal while others are in favor. The outcome has been seen as too close to call, although the Denver trust’s decision increases doubts about the deal’s prospects.

“The Denver trust have argued that the super-voting B class shareholders should receive a premium of 10-20% over the $60 offer. In their view, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch should be willing to pay an extra $120 million to $240 million — the cost of paying more to B shareholders — to clinch the $5 billion deal. The Bancroft family owns about 83% of the roughly 20 million B shares.”

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