What changed the Bancrofts' minds
Matthew Karntischnig, Sarah Ellison, Susan Pulliam and Susan Warren write in the Saturday Wall Street Journal that there were four factors that convinced the Bancroft family, the majority owners of Dow Jones & Co., to talk to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch about selling the owner of the Journal.
But the biggest one was the change of heart by Boston attorney Michael Elefante, who represents the Bancrofts and sits on the Dow Jones board. He had previously been opposed to selling the company.
They wrote, “Mr. Elefante, a partner at a law firm that had represented the family for decades, told the group that for Dow Jones to remain competitive, he now believed the family needed to explore a sale to Mr. Murdoch or another bidder, according to people familiar with the presentation.
“A look inside the family’s deliberation shows four crucial factors laid the groundwork for the Bancrofts’ dramatic change of position. One was the shift by Mr. Elefante, a Boston lawyer who oversees the family’s trusts. A rift in the 34-member family widened as an increasingly noisy wing, especially those in the younger generation, agitated for Mr. Murdoch’s offer to be considered. In a presentation to the board weeks earlier about the deal’s pros and cons, Dow Jones Chief Executive Richard Zannino had starkly laid out to the family the downside of shutting the door. Finally, competition was getting fiercer than ever, with business-information providers Reuters Group PLC and Thomson Corp. announcing merger plans. All this made it harder for the family to resist the rich premium of Mr. Murdoch’s offer.”
Read more here. The story has some great detail about how Murdoch’s camp has been laying the groundwork for the offer and how the Bancrofts came to change their mind.