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NWS-DJ: Zannino’s Role; DJ Chairman; Philly’s Tierney?

Some of the NWS-DJ stories as pubs fill space and time waiting for the next step:

Neutral CEO: DJ CEO Rich Zannino tells USAT he hasn’t advocated a position and is focused on moving foward. That interview took place before the Bancrofts’ surprise announcement last week; in their own interviews, some family members felt like Zannino was taking sides despite his efforts to be viewed as neutral. A compensation expert says Zannino could make $20 million from a sale. Zannino: “I feel pretty fortunate doing what I’m doing now … Money is not my primary motivation.” Former WSK publisher Karen Elliott House via email to USAT: “Obviously, nothing he has done has affected the share price like having breakfast with Mr. Murdoch.” More in the lengthy profile.

New DJ chairman emerges as player: M. Peter McPherson became chairman of DJ on April 18, roughly three weeks after Zannino had breakfast with Rupert Murdoch. Now he’s the bridge between various factions and interests, according to the Journal. An ad hoc committee of the board will take the lead in negotiations. The members are Zannino, McPherson Zannino, Textron Inc. CEO Lewis Campbell, the chair of the governance committee and Harvey Golub, the chair of the compensation committee and chairman of Campbell’s Soup Co. Among the issues — cash or News Corp. stock (the Bancrofts face tax issues) and the possible third-party bid being sought by the union.

Eyes bigger than stomach?: This comes close to boggling what’s left of my mind. Brian Tierney, who already has more than enough on his plate with the Philly papers, told the Journal, he would be interested in taking a look at DJ. He says News Corp. is overpaying and that “if there was an explicit process we would be inclined to participate in conjunction with others.”

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