Murdoch Sends Second Letter to Bancroft Family

Offers Independent Editorial Board, But So Far No Response

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Bancroft family is still playing it cool even after Rupert Murdoch sent them a letter last Friday again trying to earn their support for his $5 billion bid to buy Dow Jones.
In his letter to the Bancroft family, Rupert Murdoch writes: 'I would like to express my regret if you have been placed in an uncomfortable position.'
In his letter to the Bancroft family, Rupert Murdoch writes: 'I would like to express my regret if you have been placed in an uncomfortable position.' Credit: Nancy Kaszerman

Playing a different role
From its opening line, his plaintive letter presents a strikingly different Mr. Murdoch, chairman of the powerful News Corp., than the prevailing image of a mogul among moguls who kowtows to no one, with the possible exception of the Chinese government. "Please allow me the opportunity with this letter to address more fully why News Corporation would be an ideal partner for Dow Jones, and why we are so enthusiastic about a potential combination," Mr. Murdoch begins.

"In the weeks since our proposal was made public on Tuesday, May 1, there has been much written about a potential combination and News Corporation's intentions," he writes later. "I would like to express my regret if you have been placed in an uncomfortable position by the events of the past week."

Journalistic integrity
A News Corp. acquisition of Dow Jones would have no effect on the journalistic independence and integrity that belong to company brands, including The Wall Street Journal, he said. To provide some assurance, he would give a Bancroft family member a seat on the News Corp. board and create an independent, autonomous editorial board to ensure the integrity of Dow Jones properties.

That Mr. Murdoch felt compelled to be so explicit on that score, tacitly admitting that he is prone to influence coverage in many of the news outlets he already owns, says a lot about the challenges his bid faces. Mr. Murdoch repeated his request for a private meeting with Bancroft family members to discuss the offer. The family hasn't yet responded.
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