Magazine article Editor & Publisher

It's Official: Dow Jones and News Corp. Boards Back Deal

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

It's Official: Dow Jones and News Corp. Boards Back Deal

Article excerpt

Reporters Sarah Ellison and Matthew Karnitschnig put it succinctly, if a bit sadly, in their front-page Wall Street Journal article for Wednesday: "A century of Bancroft-family ownership at Dow Jones & Co. is over.

"Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. sealed a $5 billion agreement to purchase the publisher of The Wall Street Journal after three months of drama in the controlling family and public debate about journalistic values."

Murdoch, perhaps to mollify outside and inside critics, announced he would add four pages of news coverage to the Journal, according to the paper.

Still, a veteran unnamed reporter at the Journal told The New York Times, "It's sad. We held a wake. We stood around a pile of Journals and drank whiskey."

After reports predicting the outcome all day, the deal was approved by the boards of both companies, meeting separately. The two companies then set out to sign a merger agreement right away. Then it will be put to shareholders, who now have signaled acceptance.

"It's a bad thing for Dow Jones and American journalism that the Bancroft family could not resist Rupert Murdoch's generous offer," James H. Ottaway Jr., the former Dow Jones executive and a major shareholder, said.

It will likely take three to four months for the transition to take effect. Murdoch has said that he probably will pump a good deal of money into the operation at the outset, posing a challenge to the Financial Times and The New York Times.

"At the family's insistence, the News Corporation has agreed to retain the top editors at Dow Jones, including Marcus W. Brauchli, the managing editor of The Journal and Paul Gigot, The Journal's editorial page editor, and has accepted limits on its ability to remove or replace people in those posts," The New York Times points out.

"The Bancrofts hope the arrangement, which they negotiated before the final deal, will restrict Mr. …

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