Dow Jones, NewsCorp Agree WSJ Integrity Deal

28 June 2007

NEW YORK: Whether or not Tuesday's agreement signals the beginning of the end for the independence of Dow Jones and its flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, is uncertain.

But one major obstacle to the company's acquisition by News Corporation - guarantees for the newspaper's editorial independence and integrity - was removed from the tortuous track to a done deal.

Insiders caution, however, that several "open issues" remain concerning the guarantees. Nor is it certain that the compromise agreement will allay the concerns of Dow Jones' controlling Bancroft family, some of whom oppose a deal with Rupert Murdoch for reasons other than commerce.

The senior Bancroft trustee representing the family, Michael B Elefante, told reporters that he plans to wait before polling the family's three dozen adult members, and will not do so until he is in a position to present them with an overall package.

This would not only include the required editorial guarantees, but also a firm price and other key details of the NewsCorp offer. Moreover, it is unlikely that even Murdoch expects the Bancrofts and other Dow Jones shareholders to accept his opening offer.

They will almost certainly seek an increase over the $5 billion, ($60 a share) tabled by NewsCorp in April.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff