The Wall Street Journal has reported that
trustee Jane Cox Macelree of its parent company, Dow Jones & Co, argued at
a meeting that selling the company to Rupert Murdoch''s News Corp could compromise
the paper''s independence.
Macelree shares voting control over stock representing
15 per cent of Dow Jone''s total votes.
She argued against accepting Murdoch''s
offer, which the board of Dow Jones last week (See: Dow
Jones board clears $5 billion News Corp bid, seeks Bancrofts'' nod) at
a meeting attended by 33 family members who were briefed in person or by phone
on the details of a $5 billion offer by News Corp.
The board''s endorsement
prompted director Dieter von Holtzbrinck, who is the chairman of family firm von
Holtzbrinck that owns a number of leading German newspapers; to resign in protest
saying the takeover would threaten the group''s journalistic values. (See: Director
quits Dow Jones over board''s endorsement to Murdoch''s bid)
Bancroft family has held a controlling stock in Dow Jones interest in Dow Jones
since 1902 and currently owns a majority 64 per cent.
The company''s advisers
have called on the Bancrofts to make a decision by early next week, though some
family members are resisting the idea of a deadline.
For its bid to succeed,
News Corp requires family-owned shares representing at least 30 per cent of Dow
Jones''s overall voting shares in its favour in the event of non-family shareholders
backing the deal with an overwhelmingly majority.
one of three family members on the Dow Jones board, recently approached hedge
funds, private equity firms and General Electric Co, in a bid to get enough voting
shares of Dow Jones to give him the power to block a sale.(See: Dow
Jones board member opposes sale to News Corp)
Leslie Hill, another Dow Jones director, has also been exploring options for an
alternative to Murdoch''s offer, but the two relatives are not working together.
Bancrofts are divided into three main branches, the Cox branch, which includes
Macelree, is perhaps the most divided. Two of Macelree''s sons favour a sale to
Murdoch, while the third is leaning against, say people familiar with their thinking.
Her four daughters, including Dow Jones director Leslie Hill, are mostly
aligned with their mother.