The oversight board, meant to protect the paper's editorial integrity, says Murdoch's move to oust Marcus Brauchli violates the "letter and spirit" of its bylaws. Too bad there's nothing they can do about it now.
• Hedi Slimane is back in talks with LVMH to launch his own fashion house. Everyone, commence jumping up and down. [WWD]
• IMG is behind Bravo’s new model show but won’t be giving the winner a contract. [Fashionista]
• Not even Cavalli can rev up H&M’s sales. [NYP]
There's something fishy about the role of incoming Wall Street Journal publisher Robert Thompson. It's not just that he's the former editor of Rupert Murdoch's Times of London (and therefore not someone with experience from the business side of a paper). It's that he gives Murdoch an interesting loophole to get around the editorial-independence clauses that were set up at the request of the Bancroft family when he took over the Journal. Portfolio's Jeff Bercovici reports:
Tom Bray, chairman of the five-person committee charged with overseeing compliance of the agreement, notes that it explicitly delineates the authority of the managing editor and editorial page editor but does not do so for the publisher. A change in the publisher's duties, therefore, lies outside the agreement's purview.
• Howard Stern, good for the gays? A longtime lesbian listener calls Stern "one of the most pro-gay media personalities in the country." [Gay.com]
• Murdoch finally gets his giant puffy hands on the Journal today at 10 a.m. The only question is just how much of the Bancroft family will try to show their noble intentions, however laughably inept, by registering a protest vote against the deal. [WSJ]
• A great new/old debate: Should Democrats go on Fox News? [Mixed Media/Portfolio, NYO]
• The Bancrofts are so dysfunctional that they missed the deadline for choosing their representative to the new Dow Jones board. Murdoch then vetoed two family nominations before agreeing to Natalie Bancroft, a 27-year-old opera singer and journalism neophyte. Family member Crawford Hill concluded: "This entire, sad and pathetic final episode is a fiasco. No wonder we lost Dow Jones!!" [WSJ]
• With the Times hiring former sex writer Susan Dominus as the newest "Metro" columnist, will the section be heading toward the look of "Sunday Styles"? [NYO]
• Nora Ephron: Blogging makes us better writers. Hey Nora, can you call our boss? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• Atlantic owner David Bradley sent ponies to Jeffrey Goldberg's kids to help lure him away from The New Yorker. Seriously. [WP]
• Just before the Dow Jones deal went through, the Bancrofts voted to double this quarter's dividend for themselves [NYP]
• Murdoch and Ailes's next move? All-out war? (Wait, they're not at war with everyone else already?) [Newsweek]
and the payoffs to the Bancrofts' lawyers and bankers, and the inevitable fury of Christopher Bancroft, and the mass defection of Journal staffers to the FT and the Times and, as at least the folks at Columbia Journalism Review would have you think, the topless chicks on the front of "Money & Investing":
It's a funny thing. When any of us has a deadline, we have to obey it. Work has to be in when work has to be in. Taxes must be postmarked by April 15. The 5:09 for Montauk leaves at, God willing, 5:09. But apparently if you're an already-rich family try to cash out on your newspaper company — or, for that matter, if you're the State of New York applying for a half-billion dollars — a deadline is but a trifling concern. And so yesterday's 5 p.m. cutoff for the Bancrofts to yea or nay a sale of Dow Jones to News Corporation came and went, and still no one knows the result. The Times today calls a deal "tantalizing close," and the soberer Journal says the two sides "edged closer."
There's around a half-hour left to what's nominally the deadline for the Bancrofts to approve a sale of Dow Jones, their family media company and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. So what's going happen? The short answer: No one knows. The Denver trusts are still holding out for more money, and now some of the Boston lawyers who act as trustees might feel that way, too. Rupert says he won't offer more. Jane Cox MacElree, a family matriarch, is still against a deal, but she resigned from some of the trusts she heads because their beneficiaries are in favor. Family lawyers are trying to restructure one of the trusts Christopher Bancroft oversees, because he's against the deal and will vote the shares in opposition, even though some of the beneficiaries of that trust support it. The Times says that it's possible this whole thing will go into tomorrow or beyond, deadline notwithstanding. ("How long does it take to make a vote?" a fund manager asks in a CNN/Money article, echoing everyone's frustration.) Oh, and Murdoch is "highly unlikely" to go through with the deal if he only gets enough Bancroft support to squeak though. So, yeah, we've got no idea. But so far today Dow Jones stock has dropped almost three points, or 5.6 percent, to 51.5 — which means investor think things aren't looking good for a deal.
Bancrofts' Jockeying Over Murdoch Deal Goes Down to the Wire [WSJ]
Dow Jones Deal Dead? Don't Bet on It [CNN/Money]
Bancrofts Said Divided as Journal Deadline Looms [NYT]
News Corp. Says It's 'Highly Unlikely' to Buy Dow Jones at Current Count [WSJ]
• With the deadline set for 5 p.m. tonight, the Bancrofts' vote on the Dow Jones deal remains too close to call. [WSJ]
• Jimmy Fallon is apparently the lead contender to take Conan O'Brien's place once Conan jumps to Leno's time slot. Yikes. [Broadcasting & Cable]
• Is Jane Pratt's new project a Gwen Stefani magazine? [Fashionista]
• Late-night talk legend Tom Snyder is dead at 71. [AP via NYT]
• While A.G. Andrew Cuomo was investigating him, Eliot Spitzer gagged two aides by quickly designating them "special counsels" — which bestowed lawyer-client privilege on their internal chats. Clever, and ever so slightly nauseating. [NYP]
Movement on the Bancroft-o-Meter! The Journal's Matthew Karnitschnig breaks the news this afternoon that the group of Bancroft trusts managed by a Denver law firm — as opposed to the bulk of the trusts, controlled by a Boston firm — will vote against the proposed sale to News Corporation. This is sort of a big deal, as the Denver-controlled votes were thought to be in favor of the Murdoch offer. Indeed, if we're doing our math right — and we're by no means certain we are — with the Denver 9.1 percent of votes against Murdoch, combined with Christopher Bancroft's 15 percent, which are definitely against, and Jane Cox MacElree's 15 percent, which according to Wednesday's Journal article are likely against (she's the one who cried at the family meeting Tuesday while invoking Danny Pearl), 49.1 percent of votes are against the deal. Throw in the Ottaway family's 7 percent, a definite no, and that puts 56.1 percent of Dow Jones votes against the Murdoch deal at the moment. Doesn't it?
UPDATE: No, it doesn't. And we're really bad at math. 15+15+9.1 = 39.1, not 49.1. So we're at 46.1 percent against now. Wow we're embarrassed.
Key Bancroft Family Trust to Vote Against News Corp. Bid for Dow Jones [WSJ]
Earlier:Today's Bancroft-o-Meter: Lukewarm, Maybe?
Yesterday was the big Bancroft family meeting on the future of Dow Jones, and today The Wall Street Journal has a hugely comprehensive takeout on who in the family stands where on the question of selling to Rupert Murdoch. (Somewhere, Clark Hoyt is kvelling.) No one really knows what's going to happen: There are 33 Bancrofts, with more than 100 different trusts, managed by two different trusts and estates law firms, who have a say in this. After 2,700 words, by five bylined reporters, it's impossible to tell who controls what votes and which people will vote which way. But, still, like on any good daytime soap, it's fun to break down the players. After the jump, it's all Jessie Bancroft Cox's children.
The Bancroft family, owners of Dow Jones and its Wall Street Journal, met for something like seven hours yesterday in Boston to hear about Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy the company. There were a series of presentations but no actual debate; a decision could come as soon as later this week. Christopher Bancroft, a key opponent of the sale, spoke to reporters as he was leaving the meeting, but he wouldn't comment. He was, however, wearing a hat that said "Bite Me." Subtle.
Related:Family Talks on Sale of Dow Jones Are Called 'Not Acrimonious' [NYT]