July 30, 2007 / 1:57 PM / 12 years ago

Dow Jones family owners face deadline on bid

(Adds details, share move)

By Megan Davies and Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK, July 30 (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. NWSa.N appeared close to gaining sufficient approval for its $5 billion bid for Dow Jones & Co DJ.N from the Bancroft family, The Wall Street Journal said, ahead of a Monday deadline for responding to the offer.

The Bancrofts control 64 percent of the voting shares of Dow Jones, owner of the Wall Street Journal. Slightly less than half of the family’s votes favored the deal as of late Sunday, the Journal reported, citing a source close Dow Jones’ board. This accounts for 28 percent of the overall voting shares.

That’s just shy of the 30 percent voting approval that would give News Corp a comfortable margin to win support from outside shareholders, who hold about 29 percent of voting shares and are expected to largely back the deal.

News Corp and Dow Jones were not immediately available for comment.

Bancroft family members have been asked to decide by the end of Monday whether they will support Murdoch’s bid for control of company, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

The bid by News Corp, owner of Fox News, the New York Post and a sprawling global media empire, values Dow Jones at $60 per share and was made public on May 1.

Dow Jones shares slipped from a high of nearly $62 in June to trade at about $53.68 in early trading on Monday, as reports of deep rifts within the Bancroft family spurred investor concern a deal could fall through.

The board of Dow Jones endorsed the offer two weeks ago, sending the deal to the Bancroft family for approval.

The family, which has controlled Dow Jones for more than a century, has since been trying to decide among its numerous members whether to support the bid.

Michael Elefante, a Dow Jones board member and chief trustee of the Bancrofts’ shares, asked for family members to decide whether or not they support Murdoch’s bid by the end of Monday, the source familiar with the situation said.

Bancroft family members met in Boston a week ago to hear presentations by their advisers on the deal. The Boston meeting also gave members an opportunity to sign an agreement saying how they would vote.

The Bancrofts had also sought rival bids, but the only competing proposal that appears to be on the table is from Internet entrepreneur Brad Greenspan who proposed lending between $400 million and $600 million to some Bancrofts to buy out other family members at $60 a share.

(Additional reporting by Kenneth Li)

((Editing by Derek Caney; Reuters Messaging rm://megan.davies.reuters.com@reuters.net Telephone: +1 646 223 6112)) Keywords: DOWJONES/

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