Report: Murdoch, Dow Jones close to agreement designed to protect editorial independence of ‘Wall Street Journal’

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New York—News Corp Chairman-CEO Rupert Murdoch and advisers to Dow Jones & Co. and members of the Bancroft family on Sunday night were close to agreeing on terms of a deal designed to protect The Wall Street Journal’s newsroom independence if the company accepts a takeover bid from Murdoch, according to The New York Times.

Under the proposal, News Corp. would maintain a 16-member board of directors at Dow Jones, and five of those directors would form a special committee charged with preserving editorial independence, according to the Times.

The committee’s members would be mutually agreed on by News Corp. and the Bancroft family, who own a controlling interest in Dow Jones, and would oversee the hiring of the managing editor and editorial page editor. Unlike the Bancrofts’ proposal that Murdoch rejected, the committee would not oversee budgets and the appointment of the newspaper’s publisher, the Times reported.

The Times said people involved in the discussions “cautioned” that a deal between Murdoch and the Bancrofts’ advisers did not mean that either the Dow Jones board or the family, which controls 64 % of the shareholder votes, would approve the arrangement.

Murdoch has offered $60 a share for Dow Jones, which also owns Barron’s, MarketWatch and

—Matthew Schwartz

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