OLD Media Moves

Ottaway family also opposed to selling Dow Jones to News Corp.

May 3, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

The Ottaway family, which sold its community newspapers to Dow Jones & Co. in 1970 and remains a large shareholder, is also opposed to selling the owner of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s to News Corp. for $5 billion, according to a story in the Journal on Wednesday.

Sarah Ellison and Dennis Berman wrote, “The Bancroft family members opposed to Mr. Murdoch’s offer got a boost yesterday when they were told that another large shareholder, the Ottaway family, is firmly opposed to selling to Mr. Murdoch, according to people briefed on the meeting. The most recent Dow Jones proxy filing shows the Ottaways own 6.2% of the company’s Class B shares. The Ottaway family acquired its interest in the newspaper publisher when it sold its chain of community newspapers to Dow Jones in 1970.

“The Ottaways’ opposition to the Murdoch bid is significant because it means that at least 58% of the votes now oppose the offer. Investors, though, appeared to be betting that Dow Jones would be sold to somebody in the end: The stock closed yesterday at $56 a share, down 20 cents from the day before, when the offer was first disclosed.

“The family’s rejection is sure to upset Dow Jones’s nonfamily shareholders, many of whom traded into the stock in the last 48 hours in expectation of a sale.

“But the margin is still thin, and the family is large and far-flung. The Bancrofts didn’t know they would be under pressure to express a preference until Tuesday, when CNBC broke the news of the offer. Even with the Ottaways’ opposition, a defection by a relatively small number of family members could swing the vote the other way. And the delays could provide cover for Mr. Murdoch to attempt to negotiate with individual family trustees.”

Read more here.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.