Rupert Murdoch has reportedly offered
the Bancroft family a seat on the News Corp board as part of his campaign
to get them to sell him Dow Jones. I can’t see what good that would do, frankly.
He’s not offering them News Corp stock, and the Wall Street Journal will be
such a tiny part of News that it would probably only come up peripherally at
board meetings. And the Bancrofts, as the Journal itself has done a very good
job of reporting, are hardly monolithic enough to benefit from a single seat
in any event.
Murdoch clearly hasn’t given up, but efforts like this seem unlikely to make
much of a difference. An editorial board which would need to approve the hiring
and firing of the WSJ editor? Would hardly stop Rupert from badgering the editor
with phone calls day and night should he be so inclined. And Murdoch’s promises
to invest extra money into the Journal’s Washington, New York and international
operations do risk coming across as though he’s accusing the Bancrofts of mismanaging
their crown jewel.
On the other hand, Dow Jones stock was trading below $52 today before news
of Murdoch’s letter came out. Maybe what Murdoch really needs is a credible
threat of withdrawing his offer. The problem, of course, is that nobody would