The Bancrofts’ final WSJ capitulation
Remember the war over whether or not Rupert Murdoch would be able to buy the WSJ from the Bancroft family? Sarah Ellison has written the definitive account of the whole story, and now follows up with a couple of startling quotes from the Bancrofts who opposed the sale:
“I feel blessed it happened when it did,” Christopher Bancroft, a Bancroft heir and former Dow Jones director who campaigned against the deal with Murdoch, told me recently. “I’m glad I didn’t get my way.”…
Even Leslie Hill, a Dow Jones director who opposed the deal so passionately that she resigned her Dow Jones board seat in protest, says she doesn’t regret handing the company over to Murdoch. “Just look at how our family would have fared during the recession,” she told me recently.
It was always clear, of course, that Murdoch was offering the Bancrofts far more than their company was worth. But the family had long said that Dow Jones was not for sale, and before selling out they insisted on putting together safeguards to preserve the WSJ’s independence. Inevitably, those safeguards were ignored by Murdoch, and the paper has swung to the sensationalist right.
But rather than regret the sale to Murdoch, the Bancrofts who opposed the sale now are relieved that they lost. They thought that they were standing up for something more important than money — but now it turns out that money would have turned out to be more important after all. Glad that’s cleared up.