Saturday, June 2, 2007
What made members of the Bancroft family change their minds and make a statement that the family would meet with Rupert Murdoch and consider selling Dow Jones & Co.? In an article that contains unusally detailed information about two important meetings -- a family meeting held on May 23 and a board meeting on May 30 -- the Wall St. Journal gives the reasons. First, Michael Elefante, Boston lawyer, Dow Jones director and trustee to some Bancroft family trusts, changed his mind and decided that the family should consider options. Second, some family members, particularly the younger generation, pressed hard for consideration of the offer. Finally, the family became aware of the downside of turning down the offer, as well as the competitive pressures of the business information industry. It is also clear that the family remains deeply conflicted. Even after the family statement was released publicly, some family members wanted to reconsider it.
Representatives of the Bancroft family will meet with Murdoch on Monday to discuss principally editorial independence; Dow Jones' nonexecutive chair, M. Peter McPherson, will also attend. On the still unanswered question about whether there was a leak of the Murdoch bid before its public announcement, the article makes clear that Murdoch has been reaching out to various members of the Bancroft family since last fall. See WSJ, Behind the Bancrofts' Shift at Dow Jones. For the New York Times' take on these events, see How the Bancrofts Decided to Talk With Murdoch.