Journal agrees to meet Murdoch


Summary

The Bancroft family, which controls the journal's parent company Dow Jones & Co., initially resisted the overtures from Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

The family warned, however, that there could be "no assurance" that the talks would result in a deal with News Corp. and indicated it was open to offers from other parties.

"After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive environment in which it operates, the family has reached consensus that the mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration with another organisation, which may include News Corporation," the family said in a statement released late Thursday.

"Accordingly, the Family has advised the Company's Board that it intends to meet with News Corporation to determine whether, in the context of the current or any modified News Corporation proposal, it will be possible to ensure the level of commitment to editorial independence, integrity and journalistic freedom that is the hallmark of Dow Jones," it said.

The statement came two weeks after Mr Murdoch, in an effort to ease concerns about journalistic integrity, wrote a letter to the Bancroft family in which he said he would create an independent editorial board for The Wall Street Journal if his bid succeeds.

In his letter, published May 14 in the Journal, Mr Murdoch said he would "establish an independent, autonomous editorial board exactly along the lines of what was established at The Times of London," which he owns.

This board would ensure that both the editor and managing editor of the Journal "would not be appointed or dismissed without the approval of the majority of the directors of the board; and ensure that any dispute between management and editors is properly arbitrated by the board," he said.

The Journal, founded in 1889, is the most prominent daily business publication in the United States with a daily circulation of 1.7 million newspapers and 788,000 Internet subscribers.

Mr Murdoch — whose empire includes the Fox News Channel, MySpace, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post and the Times of London — added that his News Corp. would be "an ideal partner for Dow Jones."

His group, he said, "would be dedicated to building upon the more than 100-year heritage of your great company."

The Dow Jones board of directors said on May 2 that it would take no action on Mr Murdoch's surprise offer.

Michael Elefante, a board member who represents the Bancrofts — who own the shares that make up 52 percent of the company's outstanding voting power — told the board then that they opposed the bid.

The Wall Street Journal itself reported that The New York Times and financial news agency Bloomberg could be among possible rival suitors for Dow Jones.


The Bancroft family, which controls the journal's parent company Dow Jones & Co., initially resisted the overtures from Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

The family warned, however, that there could be "no assurance" that the talks would result in a deal with News Corp. and indicated it was open to offers from other parties.

"After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive environment in which it operates, the family has reached consensus that the mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration with another organisation, which may include News Corporation," the family said in a statement released late Thursday.

"Accordingly, the Family has advised the Company's Board that it intends to meet with News Corporation to determine whether, in the context of the current or any modified News Corporation proposal, it will be possible to ensure the level of commitment to editorial independence, integrity and journalistic freedom that is the hallmark of Dow Jones," it said.

The statement came two weeks after Mr Murdoch, in an effort to ease concerns about journalistic integrity, wrote a letter to the Bancroft family in which he said he would create an independent editorial board for The Wall Street Journal if his bid succeeds.

In his letter, published May 14 in the Journal, Mr Murdoch said he would "establish an independent, autonomous editorial board exactly along the lines of what was established at The Times of London," which he owns.

This board would ensure that both the editor and managing editor of the Journal "would not be appointed or dismissed without the approval of the majority of the directors of the board; and ensure that any dispute between management and editors is properly arbitrated by the board," he said.

The Journal, founded in 1889, is the most prominent daily business publication in the United States with a daily circulation of 1.7 million newspapers and 788,000 Internet subscribers.

Mr Murdoch — whose empire includes the Fox News Channel, MySpace, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post and the Times of London — added that his News Corp. would be "an ideal partner for Dow Jones."

His group, he said, "would be dedicated to building upon the more than 100-year heritage of your great company."

The Dow Jones board of directors said on May 2 that it would take no action on Mr Murdoch's surprise offer.

Michael Elefante, a board member who represents the Bancrofts — who own the shares that make up 52 percent of the company's outstanding voting power — told the board then that they opposed the bid.

The Wall Street Journal itself reported that The New York Times and financial news agency Bloomberg could be among possible rival suitors for Dow Jones.