New York: Media baron Rupert Murdoch is offering to create “an independent, autonomous editorial board” for the Wall Street Journal if his News Corporation bid for Dow Jones and Co. succeeds, a letter released on 14 May 2007 showed.
The letter addressed to the controlling Bancroft family and published in the Journal was aimed at overcoming resistance to the $ 5 billion (Rs 20,500 crore) hostile takeover offer.
Murdoch wrote in the letter that his News Corp. would be “an ideal partner for Dow Jones,” and that his group “would be dedicated to building upon the more than 100-year heritage of your great company.”
In an effort to overcome concerns about maintaining journalistic integrity, Murdoch said he would “establish an independent, autonomous editorial board exactly along the lines of what was established at The Times of London.”
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.
Murdoch’s letter said he would include a Bancroft family member on the board to “help alleviate any concerns about maintaining journalistic integrity and ensure good communication between the family and News Corporation going forward.”
The board of directors for Dow Jones announced earlier this month that it would take no action on the offer.
But some analysts argue that other shareholders may force the family to consider the stunning 63% premium to an earlier value of Dow Jones shares.
The Wall Street Journal is the prize asset of Dow Jones and the most prominent daily business publication in the United States.
Murdoch’s bid would add the Journal and other Dow Jones media properties to his empire, which includes the Fox News Channel, MySpace, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post and The Times of London.