Murdoch Takes Another Shot at Wooing Bancrofts

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

believe it.

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