Rupert Murdoch's bid for Dow Jones and Co ran into more resistance on Sunday as a large Dow Jones shareholder said he strongly opposed News Corp's bid to take over the financial news publisher, which owns the Wall Street Journal.
Jim Ottaway, a former Dow Jones board member, said on the Journal's Web site that a Murdoch takeover would lead to the "loss of the independence and integrity of a leading national editorial voice."
"Rupert Murdoch comes from a different tradition of Australian-British media ownership and editorial practice in which he has for a long time expressed his personal, political and business biases through his newspapers and television channels," Ottaway said. "The Bancroft family has treated Dow Jones as a public trust, not for personal or political interests, or maximum enhancement of family wealth by sale to a high bidder."
Ottaway said he also opposed a sale to Murdoch because it would further concentrate media ownership and influence.
The US$5 billion bid for Dow Jones from Murdoch's News Corp has already been opposed by Dow Jones' controlling shareholders, the Bancroft family, but the family is not united in its stance.
Dow Jones has said a family representative indicated that Bancroft family members representing 52 percent of the company's shareholder vote would oppose the bid -- not quite all of the family's voting power of 64 percent.
The opposition of Ottaway, whose family controls about 6.2 percent of Dow Jones's supervoting shares, would make it tougher for Murdoch to gain control of Dow Jones.
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has sold its entire 7.5 percent stake in rival Australian company Fairfax Media for around A$380 million (US$312 million), both companies said yesterday.
Reasons for the sale were not given.
Fairfax chairman Ron Walker said News Corp had informed the company that it had sold its 75 million shares at a price of A$5.07. News Corp confirmed the sale.
Fairfax shares fell 2.66 percent yesterday to close at A$5.13.