Christopher Bancroft’s Foil-Rupert Scheme: Doomed to Fail

Christopher Bancroft doesn’t want to sell Dow Jones to Rupert

Murdoch, but at this point it’s clear that if no one else is willing

to pay $60 a share, then Rupert’s going to get his trophy. Mr Bancroft’s proposed

solution to this problem? Buying up a 51% blocking vote himself. The WSJ reports:

he has spent recent weeks approaching hedge funds, private-equity firms and

others in a quest to buy enough voting shares of Dow Jones to give him the

power to torpedo a sale.

It’s true that between the shares he already controls and the shares controlled

by James Ottaway, Bancroft wouldn’t need to buy all that much

in the way of other family members’ stakes to block a deal. But here’s the thing:

"hedge funds, private-equity firms and others" aren’t charged with

helping old media dinosaurs fight quixotically against the inevitable. They’re

charged with making money. And if they invest $60 a share today, they’re going

to want to get back significantly more than $60 a share tomorrow. Bancroft,

I’m pretty sure, has no coherent idea as to how to do that. Which is why this

attempted Murdoch spoiler, just like the attempted Murdoch spoiler of Brad

Greenspan, is doomed to fail.

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