TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Doug Krizner: Rupert Murdoch may have been hoping to claim victory this morning in his pursuit of the Dow Jones. There was a 5 p.m. deadline last night for the family controlling Dow and the Wall Street Journal to decide on whether to sell to Murdoch’s News Corp. But this morning, still no agreement among the members of the Bancroft family. Let’s bring in Sarah Ellison, she’s a staff reporter with The Wall Street Journal. Sarah where are we in this.
Sarah Ellison: Well you have a showdown of sorts between some of the family trusts, primarily those known as the Denver Trusts, and News Corp. The Denver Trusts are arguing that the super-voting shares that they control, the B shares that allow the Bancroft family to control Down Jones, are worth more than the $60 Murdoch has offered. And Murdoch is essentially refusing to budge, except for one thing that developed last night, which is that now Dow Jones is offering to pay some of the legal fees for the family advisors if at least Denver and possibly one other family member votes in favor of the deal.
Krizner: Before we were getting all the information that the Bancrofts were more concerned about the editorial independence of The Wall Street Journal. Is that still the case?
Ellison: Well if that is still the case, that’s not what’s driving the discussion right now. Right now it appears that money talks.
Krizner: What would happen then if the family did not develop consensus and this deal does not get done?
Ellison: If the deal doesn’t get done then Dow Jones would continue on, obviously the stock of Dow Jones would drop dramatically. It’s possible that another buyer who was not interested in competing with a $60 share price would come in at that point. It would have a big impact on what goes on in the newsroom, how Dow Jones maintains its business strategy going forwards. . . I mean I think that a lot of people have said here, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. So now that this offer is out there, even if it’s turned down, everything will have changed for Dow Jones.
Krizner: Now the News Corp board will meet today. What are we likely to see happen here? What is the next step?
Ellison: Well that all depends on whether these holdout trustees sign their voting agreements. If they do then News Corp in their board meeting would approve a merger agreement and then Dow Jones’ board is meeting later on today and they would likely do the same, but it all hinges on these last few trustees who need to give their assent to the deal.
Krizner: Sarah Ellison is a staff reporter with The Wall Street Journal. Sarah thanks so much for speaking with us.
Ellison: Thank you.
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