Bancrofts still dancing with Murdoch


The courtship dance continues, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the Bancroft family, which controls its parent Dow Jones & Co., has been preparing a revised set of proposals for a special board to oversee the editorial integrity of the WSJ if News Corporation acquires Dow Jones. The proposals may have been sent to News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch yesterday, although there is yet no confirmation of that. If Murdoch and the Bancrofts are able to come to terms on editorial independence for the WSJ, then they can get down to discussing the five billion bucks he has offered for the company.

Meanwhile, although the union representing some Dow Jones workers has been seeking out other potential bidders and there has been talk of some being interested, no one has yet stepped forward to equal or top the 60 bucks per share being offered by Murdoch.

The Fidelity mutual funds group apparently figured that bid is about as good as it is going to get. Fidelity, which once owned 4.6 million shares of Dow Jones, roughly a 7% stake, has reduced that to 166,754. 

SmartMedia observation: With Dow Jones trading just below the 60 bucks bid, fidelity apparently decided it was time to cash in its chips and avoid any risk of the deal talks blowing up and the stock dropping back to where it was pre-Murdoch. Why hold onto 166,754 shares? While Fidelity is primarily about mutual funds, it also offers regular brokerage accounts where individuals can own stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other securities. We suspect that's where those stray Dow Jones shares are.