Dow Jones, News Corp. Agree on Editorial Policies
The Dow Jones Company and News Corp reached a major milestone today, an agreement to preserve the independence of DJ's news publications. Looks like Rupert Murdoch just might get to buy the Wall Street Journal after all:
Dow Jones & Co. and News Corp. have agreed in principle on a set of editorial protections for Dow Jones, according to people familiar with the matter.
While there remained some "open items" to be resolved, the two sides had essentially finalized the last points on the agreement Tuesday morning, these people said. The accord paves the way for the sale of the publisher of The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate for about $5 billion.
Now, the Bancroft family, which has controlled Dow Jones since early in the 20th century, will have to weigh in. The two sides still have not come to an agreement on price, and a decision on whether to complete an overall deal could still be days away, say people familiar with the situation. Though the family has overcome some of its previous doubts about selling the company, the situation remains fluid, and some members continue to privately express resistance to a deal. The family's main concern has been protecting the editorial integrity of the Journal and other Dow Jones properties.
Last week, the Bancrofts ceded the negotiations over editorial protections to the company's board, which largely supports the sale. But the family's control of most of the super-voting shares in the company gives it ultimate veto power, and the family has been ambivalent from the start.