Dow Jones settles lawsuits


Dow Jones & Company says in an SEC filing that it has come to terms with shareholders who had sued to block the company’s sale to News Corporation for 5.6 billion bucks. The lawsuits had charged that no proper auction of Dow Jones was ever conducted because of the long-time resistance of the Bancroft family to sell the company, which they controlled through super-voting shares. Although the Bancrofts did open the door to competing offers, the lawsuits claimed that some terms of the deal with News Corporation restricted other companies from bidding. But that has now all been settled. Dow Jones will pay 895K of the plaintiffs’ legal fees and has agreed to make public the internal financial forecasts which were provided to News Corporation. Those forecasts show Dow Jones management projecting that some 234.5 million in operating income this year would grow to 337.4 million in 2009.

RBR observation: Why the plaintiffs persisted in their lawsuits after the Bancrofts reluctantly agreed to sell the company and open the bidding to all comers is beyond us. Several potential bidders looked at the company, but there was no indication that anyone was even contemplating a bid that would have come close to matching News Corporation. Dow Jones shareholders got top dollar for the company in a deteriorating market.