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Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Bancrofts to meet with News Corp


The Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones & Co, announced on Thursday it planned to meet with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to discuss his bid for their media company, a bid the Bancrofts initially opposed.

The family warned, however, that there could be "no assurance" that the talks would result in a deal with News Corp and indicated it was open to other offers for Dow Jones, whose prize asset is the Wall Street Journal.

"After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive environment in which it operates, the Family has reached consensus that the mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration with another organization, which may include News Corporation," the family said in a statement on Thursday.

"Accordingly, the Family has advised the Company's Board that it intends to meet with News Corporation to determine whether, in the context of the current or any modified News Corporation proposal, it will be possible to ensure the level of commitment to editorial independence, integrity and journalistic freedom that is the hallmark of Dow Jones," it said.

The statement came two weeks after Murdoch, in an effort to ease concerns about journalistic integrity, wrote a letter to the Bancroft family in which he said he would create an independent editorial board for the Wall Street Journal if his bid succeeded.

In his letter, published May 14 in the Journal, Murdoch said he would "establish an independent, autonomous editorial board exactly along the lines of what was established at the Times of London," which he owns.

This board would ensure that both the editor and managing editor of the Journal "would not be appointed or dismissed without the approval of the majority of the directors of the board; and ensure that any dispute between management and editors is properly arbitrated by the board," he said.

The Journal is the most prominent daily business publication in the US with a daily circulation of 1.7 million newspapers and 788,000 Internet subscribers.

Murdoch -- whose empire includes the Fox News Channel, MySpace, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post and the Times -- added that his News Corp would be "an ideal partner for Dow Jones."

His group, he said, "would be dedicated to building upon the more than 100-year heritage of your great company."

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