• David Sheeger, a Manhattan personal-injury lawyer, pleaded guilty to using a "runner" to ferry him potential cases from inside hospitals. [New York Law Journal]
• A missing Connecticut lawyer admits to embezzlement in a letter to his attorney son. [Connecticut Law Tribune]
• Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau is 88 and unrelenting. [Law Blog/WSJ]
Oh, how cute! MoveOn.org held a protest this afternoon against Rupert Murdoch's purchase of Dow Jones, handing out fake, "Murdoched" versions of The Wall Street Journal in front of the company's World Financial Center headquarters. Of course, it's hard to see what effect a lefty protest can have on an already- consummated business deal by a bunch of people who don't care what lefties think. But, then, these are also the people who supported Howard Dean and then John Kerry; we don't imagine their expectations are high.
Related:Wall Street Journal Gone Wild [The Nation via Yahoo]
Not that we'd pretend to understand how Rupert Murdoch thinks, but a question: If you're leaving the board meeting of your global media behemoth at which the board has just voted to approve your deal to buy a company you've aggressively pursued, if you're successfully buying the company after you didn't budge an inch from your initial offer a few months ago while all the people who'd publicly said they hated you eventually came around and sold their family company to you, if you've said for years, even decades, that you wanted to buy this company, and if you've intentionally left the window of your SUV open so that photogs could get a good shot of you reveling in your victory, well, shouldn't you at least try to look excited? Just asking.
So what does Rupert Murdoch’s successful purchase of Dow Jones mean for the company, the Journal, the country, the world, you? Let’s (metaphorically) ask Jim Romenesko, the ultimate summarizer of such matters. According to Jim, “explaining how Murdoch ended up winning DJ is simple,” but the “WSJ will lose prestige with News Corp. running the show.” “Murdoch’s DJ purchase could change business journalism.” (You think?) “WSJ reporters react bitterly to news of Murdoch’s victory,” and “‘just what the world needs [is] the Fox-ification of the WSJ.’”
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.
• YouTube's former finance chief joins Facebook as CFO. Sales drums bang louder. [WSJ]
• Mark Lenowitz, a stock picker for Chelsey Capital and Q Capital Investment, admitted to insider trading. [Reuters via DealBook/NYT]
• James O'Shaughnessy, a Bear Stearns exec once called "the father of strategy indexing," will leave the bank to start his own firm. [MarketBeat/WSJ]
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]
• Levi Strauss & Co. is suing Polo Ralph Lauren for supposedly copying the brand's trademark pocket stitching. [WWD via British Vogue]
• Sass & Bide has canceled their New York Fashion Week show after one of the designers required further chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. [Fashion Week Daily]
• Women ages 40 to 55 get their own Izod line. [NYP]
They're the most watched formerly quite private rich family in America right now: the Bancrofts, proprietors of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal for the past century. The company's board has approved Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion takeover offer, but the deal isn't done yet, and it won't be till the family signs off. They're meeting today in Boston to discuss. Who are they, exactly? After the jump, a family scorecard.
• Thirty or so Bancrofts are converging on a Boston Hilton today to discuss whether they'd like some more money. (Actually, spread across the clan, the estimated $500 million in profit a Dow Jones sale would bring doesn't sound like a staggering amount.) [NYT]
• Councilman and former Black Panther Charles Barron (he of the "Sonny Carson" avenue-renaming idea Bloomberg called "the worst ever") announced he's running to replace Marty Markowitz as the Brooklyn beep. Should be a lively campaign, as they say. [NYP]
• In rapper-arrest news, Lil Wayne and Ja Rule have been picked up on separate (!) gun-possession charges in busts an hour apart. [WNBC]
• Midtown businesses that lost money to last week's steam-pipe blast will not see a red cent from Con Ed — not even restaurants that lost their supplies to spoilage when the power was cut. Some are threatening to sue. [NYDN]
• And the Yankees beat the Devil Rays 21-4 last night, which both tabs agree puts the team in the "21 Club." Yuk yuk yuk. [NYDN, NYP]
As the shadow of Murdoch begins to loom over Dow Jones, the offices of The Wall Street Journal are turning into the set of The Office. At least according to today's Times, which depicts the Journal staff reduced to a very familiar kind of gallows humor and passive-aggressive sniping. Some have been answering phones with a cheery "News Corporation!" Others, getting ready to mock the boss, have begun to mimic Rupe's Australian accent, the same way every Californian in 2004 had an Ah-nuld impersonation. A cryptic "I fly with Leslie" poster, noticed by the Times reporter, translates to a statement of defiance: Leslie Hill, a former pilot, is a Bancroft who's against the deal. Even the bureau chiefs are getting into the populist-outrage humor: "We will have Page 3 girls," announced one after a conference call with Murdoch, referring to the cheesecake shots his London Sun publishes. "But in a concession, they will be dot drawings." And it'll only get worse: Wait till they find out they'll be merging with the Stamford office.
Murdoch’s Arrival Worries Journal Employees [NYT]
• As if last night's man-made horrors weren't enough, here's one from Mother Nature: A tornado touched down in Islip Terrace, uprooting trees and ripping up a law office, as two storms pummeled Long Island at the same time. [WNBC]
• Some Wall Street Journal employees answer phones by drawling "News Corporation" in an Australian accent. [NYT]
• Congress is refusing to pass a "routine resolution" honoring the New York Archdiocese because it mentions scandal-tainted Cardinal Edward Egan by name. Honorable, we guess. Remind us why Congress is honoring archdioceses in the first place? [NYP]
• Al Sharpton, who led the drive to get Don Imus fired, will have no problem with his nemesis' return to the airwaves: "He has a right to make a living." So does the Rev, who clearly needs new material. [amNY]
• And mazel tov to Mark Malkoff, who visited every Starbucks in Manhattan — there are 171 — in 24 hours. Bad news: Dude's an "aspiring filmmaker" and, naturally, filmed the journey. [NYDN]
• The Dow Jones board approved Murdoch's bid, but two of the four Bancrofts on the board refused to take part. The family is expected to meet Monday to begin deliberations. [NYT]
• Jupitermedia bought Mediabistro.com for $23 million, causing critics to smell a tech bubble. [NYT]
• The new issue of Portfolio will be out soon, and rumor has it that editor Joanne Lipman is ignoring Condé protocol by poaching other books' staff. [WWD]