Sarah Ellison of The Wall Street Journal writes for Tuesday’s paper that the meeting Monday between News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and members of the Bancroft family that control Dow Jones & Co., exchanged ideas about how to maintain the Journal’s editorial integrity if the company is sold to Murdoch, but did not discuss the price of the deal.
Ellison wrote, “Though it isn’t known exactly what was discussed, another person close to Mr. Murdoch said the News Corp. camp expected the family to bring up the Times of London and the Sunday Times, which Mr. Murdoch acquired in 1981. For that transaction, Mr. Murdoch agreed to give the papers editorial independence through an independent board, but critics have complained that the effort didn’t stop Mr. Murdoch from meddling with the papers and firing editors he didn’t like.
“Mr. Murdoch has increasingly come to recognize that he will have to go beyond protections offered to the Times of London, this person said. One scenario News Corp. is willing to explore is the one historically used by Reuters Group PLC, which gives Reuters trustees veto power over any takeover.
“Mr. Murdoch was on the Reuters board of directors in 1984 when the company listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market. It was at that time that the company strengthened the Reuters Trust by creating the Reuters Founders Share Co. and its principles, which stipulated that no single entity could own more than 15% of the company’s shares.”
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