Gunfight at the DJ Corral: Showdown Looms

17 July 2007

NEW YORK: In 1881 Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers (Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan) had their legendary gunfight with the Clanton and McLaury families at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. A similar clan faceoff is set for Thursday amid the badlands of downtown Manhattan.

At a meeting yesterday (Monday) between between News Corporation and Dow Jones, negotiators from both companies (including Dow ceo Richard F Zannino), reached agreement in principle on the $5 billion (€3.63bn; £2.45bn) deal first proposed by Rupert Murdoch in April.

However, the real shoot-out will take place next week when DJ's controlling stockholders - the Bancroft clan, which controls 64% of Dow Jones' voting power - meet to decide which way to point their six-shooters.

On that decision rests the future of the jewel in the family's crown, The Wall Street Journal, and Zannino has reportedly indicated to NewsCorp that the family's position is too close to call.

The Bancrofts' senior trustee Michael B Elefante has scheduled a meeting for Thursday at which he will present the agreement to all Bancroft family members before seeking their final vote.

He is expected to set a decision deadline several days hence, suggesting a final resolution could be achieved some time next week.

Meantime, the voting inclinations of clan Bancroft are uncertain. Some are resolutely opposed to any deal with Murdoch, irrespective of how much cash he slaps on the table. Others are eager to pocket their thirty pieces of silver.


Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online and Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff