The family that controls 64 percent of Dow Jones' voting power said it would meet with Rupert Murdoch about his $5 billion offer and consider other bidders and options for the company. That's essentially saying that the WSJ parent is in play and that, as the Journal itself said this afternoon, DJ's "125-year history as an independent media company could be nearing an end." In a statement issued this afternoon, the Bancrofts wanted "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." That's like asking a car salesman, "Now, I'm not going to have any repair problems, am I?" This is a pretty stunning turnabout from what had been a generally negative response to the Murdoch bid. But as the Journal story points out, family members have been talking a lot in the past few weeks and, let's face it, a $60 a share offer is simply hard to turn down. Sounds like this thing is going to happen.
The family emphasized in its statement that it wanted to protect the editorial independence of The Wall Street Journal and the strength of Dow Jones's other divisions. The family also said it isn't committing to a negotiation with Mr. Murdoch. "There can be no assurance that the dialogue with News Corporation or any other party will result in the negotiation, or the desire of family members to purse the negotiation, and execution of any agreement." The Bancrofts also stressed that its family members control the strings.