Dow Jones: Murdoch Unlikely to Take 'No' for An Answer

03 May 2007

NEW YORK: Despite an unequivocal 'no' from Dow Jones' controlling Bancroft family to Tuesday's $5 billion (€3.68bn; £2.51bn) takeover offer, few believe it will deter the other controlling family at the wheel of the News Corporation juggernaut.

Dow Jones' board, which met yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the bid said the company would take no immediate action, even though shares representing 52% of the company's overall voting stock favored rejection of NewsCorp's overture.

Some observers, however, see significance in Dow Jones board's terminology . . . "take no immediate action" . . . a phrase that in less guarded language could mean "that's mucho Murdoch moolah, let's not do anything hasty".

According to today's edition of the Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones' prime asset), "the slim margin of the vote . . . sets the stage for a complicated clash of interests and allegiances".

However, the Bancroft breed will have taken heart from the backing offered yesterday by another clan with a substantial slice (6.2%) of DJ stock - the Ottaway family, said to be resolutely opposed to Murdoch's marauding.

The Bancroft-Ottaway alliance means that over 58% of DJ's voting stock now contests the offer. It is by no means certain, however, that their familial resolve would withstand a suitably sweetened offer by one of the planet's master business tacticians.

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