NWS-DJ Watch: Bancroft Heir On DJ Board Tries To Block Murdoch Deal

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Christopher Bancroft, one of the three Bancroft family reps on the Dow Jones board, is on what the WSJ calls “his own last-ditch, long-shot crusade to block the deal.” The DJ flagship reports that Bancroft has, for the last few weeks, been reaching out to variety of possible funding sources, including hedge funds and private equity firms, to help him acquire enough voting power to stop a sale to News Corp. Trusts for Christopher Bancroft, his siblings, a niece and their children control about one-third of the company’s voting power. He wants to buy more of the supervoting shares; as the Journal notes, he “would need to get 51% of the total votes of the company to vote against a deal, or about $2.55 billion at $60 a share.” (The paper also points out that the only people likely to benefit in this scenario are other Bancroft heirs since holders of common stock aren’t part of the plan.) As serious as he may be, even his own advisers call it a “real long shot.” That makes two Bancroft reps on the DJ board who are trying to block a deal; Leslie Hill has been pushing for alternative buyers.

Meanwhile, negotiators for Dow Jones and News Corp. have yet to have serious negotiations on price although Murdoch has been adamant publicly about sticking to $60 per share. The Journal suggests talks along those lines may start this week.

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