'Independence' Day: Bancrofts Reject Murdoch Plan

By: E&P Staff The Bancroft family that controls Dow Jones & Company "has rejected a proposed plan prepared by its lawyers, asking them instead to seek stronger guarantees of editorial independence as a condition of selling the company to Rupert Murdoch?s News Corporation," The New York Times reports today.

Bloomberg News later declarred: "The Bancrofts remain in talks with their advisers about a proposal, said Roy Winnick, a spokesman for the Bancrofts, in a statement. Murdoch has offered roughly $5 billion for Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal and owner of Dow Jones Newswires and Barron's."

In the statement, Winnick said, "The draft proposal as it currently stands continues to evolve from the draft proposal as it stood earlier this week. No proposal will be sent to News Corp., however, until it has achieved consensus among the family members and their advisers.''

The Times account explained: "The family had originally called for creation of a panel, named by the members, that would have the sole power to hire and fire The Wall Street Journal?s top editors, who, in turn, would have that power over their subordinates. The panel would also name its own successors so that Mr. Murdoch would never gain editorial control.

"The proposal considered this week would have created such a committee, but three of its five members would have been chosen jointly by the News Corporation and the Bancrofts, or a family trust or foundation, according to people who read it. The family would have named the other two.

"But the plan also called for the committee to have some control over newsroom budgets and for a two-year moratorium on cuts in the news staff at Dow Jones, the people familiar with it said. And Dow Jones?s current top editors and The Journal?s publisher would have been permitted to keep their jobs.

"Advisers to the Bancroft family said that a new plan would be significantly different, but neither they nor family members would say which elements of the plan the Bancrofts objected to."

"Some of them said the essential complaint from the Bancrofts was that the plan, which was under active consideration as late as Wednesday, did not go far enough in safeguarding the pages of The Journal, Dow Jones?s crown jewel, from interference by Mr. Murdoch and News Corporation."

The entire article by Richard Perez-Pena is at www.nytimes.com.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here