That tally in a joint statement by Dow Jones & Company and News Corporation includes nearly 5.1 billion that News Corporation will pay to buy all shares of Dow Jones for 60 bucks each and assumption of 500 million in debt. A statement by the controlling Bancroft family says the decision to sell to Rupert Murdoch’s company came after “much soul-searching.” Another statement from Jim Ottaway, whose family also owns a large stake in Dow Jones, ripped into the advisors to the Bancrofts for “scaring some of them into betraying their 105-year family loyalty to Dow Jones independence.” The Ottaway family is expected to vote its 7% voting stake against the sale, but the deal appears to be cinched. Over half of the 64% Bancroft stake is committed to voting for the sale and the 29% stake held by the public, now mostly in the hands of arbitrageurs, is expected to be voted overwhelmingly for the sale to Murdoch.
RBR observation: What happens now? The biggest question is how owning Dow Jones can help News Corporation with its Fox Business Channel, due to launch this fall on cable. The Wall Street Journal has an exclusive deal with CNBC that runs through 2012. We expect, though, that Murdoch will be making an offer to NBC Universal to buy out that contract. And while CNBC insists that it intends to hold the WSJ to its deal, the reality is that there are advantages to getting out, rather than continue to promote a brand name that will go to its rival at a date certain. CNBC has already been having talks with the Financial Times, so it is not without options. As for Ottaway, he can at least take solace in the likelihood that his family name will not likely be part of the Murdoch empire for long. As we’ve previously noted, it didn’t make sense for Dow Jones to buy the Ottaway chain of smaller market newspapers in the first place, so it seems a no-brainer that News Corporation would put them up for sale ASAP.