Bancroft on a mission to derail Murdoch


The Wall Street Journal says Christopher Bancroft, who is a director of Dow Jones & Co., is trying to find financial backing to buy up super-voting shares from his sale-minded relatives and block any sale of the WSJ parent company to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. But, much as WSJ staffers may cheer such a move, the story admits that Bancroft isn't likely to succeed.

Christopher Bancroft's wing of the family owns about a third of the super-voting shares that have 10 times the voting power of the common shares traded on the NYSE. So, he would need to raise quite a bit of capital to buy out enough of his cousins who want to cash out – and it appears he only has a few days left to put it together. So, he has been courting hedge funds, private equity funds and other potential investors. The WSJ says people close to the board of directors don't give him much chance of securing the backing he needs.

SmartMedia observation: Hedge funds and private equity funds are out for profits, so we can only imagine their reaction to Bancroft's pitch. So, you want to buy shares from your cousins at 60 bucks a share to block the sale and make the trading price fall back to around 36 bucks, where it was before the bid by Murdoch became public. And then you want to keep operating Dow Jones the same way it has been for the past few decades. Now, could you explain again where the upside for us is in this plan?