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Guess the Anonymous Regan Quote!

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Today's Observer story on the Judith Regan lawsuit offers a good peek into the former publishing magnate's thought process as she tries to take down HarperCollins, Jane Friedman, Rupert Murdoch, and even Rudy Giuliani. The salmon paper reveals that at the start of all of this, the wannabe If I Did It publisher was offered $6.5 million to settle, but she turned it down. They even talk to Judith herself! Her quotes are actually sort of tepid and unrelated to the case, which makes sense, as she's probably banned by her lawyers from talking about it. But there are a lot of quotes by people who are "familiar" with her thinking and with the lawsuit. So let's play a game! Which of the below quotes from unnamed "sources" are actually from Regan herself, dementedly speaking in the third person? • "The men don't want a woman who can outshine them," one source with knowledge of Ms. Regan's thinking told the Observer. "They want women who can look up to them and bat their eyelashes. But honestly? She was more interesting than they were. She had a better life. She had more creativity. Men want to be on top."

Al Gore: Cashing In on His Big Year

FINANCE • Al Gore, venture capitalist? The Nobel laureate and Apple board member is taking a hands-on role at Kleiner Perkins, the leading Silicon Valley venture firm. His goal: Save the world. And annoy GE's Jeff Immelt as much as possible. [Fortune] • Harvard picked Robert S. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman, as the new steward for the $35 billion endowment. Something tells us his kids won't have any trouble getting in. [Reuters via NYT] • A few management consultants with nothing better to do gave the Times its newest buzzword: CEO version 3.0. With the departures of Stan O'Neal, Chuck Prince, and Richard Parsons, it's now time for leaders "who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet." Because, as James Cayne showed, the old CEOs were way too bebop. [NYT]

Rupert and Ted Dine À Deux

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This is just embarrassing. With five tabloid gossip columns in this city and countless gossip Websites, and it was L.A. Weekly's Nikki Finke that spotted arch-rivals Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch out on a lunch date together? Okay, granted, it was at Turner's restaurant, Ted's Montana Grill, so probably nobody was really looking, but still. This is what the Finkster has to report:
Sources said to me that the lunch was requested by Turner (est worth $2.3 bil) in an effort to "bury the hatchet" with Murdoch (est worth $8.8 bil). It came just days after a GQ interview was published with the CNN founder blaming the Fox News Channel founder for helping get America into the Iraq mess and labeling it "Rupert's war" — and FNC in response using air time to belittle and demean Turner as "off his rocker." Now, Murdoch can use the Wall Street Journal and new Fox Business Channel to belittle and demean Turner as well. "Ted reached out in the hope to make nice to Rupert now that he's the biggest media mogul in the world," a Murdoch insider told me. Did it work? "Rupert doesn't change anything. He still goes after anyone he wants."
As we all know, Murdoch's News Corp recently surpassed Time Warner as the globe's largest media conglomerate. We're guessing it was a testy lunch — for a brief run through of all the icky background between the two, see Finke's piece. In the meantime, we are totally going to start lurking around the Olive Garden in Times Square. We just know that's where Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell have been hanging out. Ted and Rupert Break Bread Together [Deadline Hollywood Daily]

Rupert Murdoch Peels an Onion

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Lost in all the Wall Street Journal drama is the news of Rupert Murdoch getting his paws on another bastion of American journalism: The Onion. The beloved if slightly over-the-hill humor newspaper has signed on to provide exclusive content to MySpace, including audio podcasts and video from its misbegotten Onion News Network offshoot. The paper announced the partnership via press release filled with the usual barrage of jokes — and with a buzz-kill addendum ("the foregoing is a satirical press release published by MySpace, Inc…") that suggests the big-league nature of the deal. Despite its shaggy pose, the Onion boasts dead-serious print circulation (3 million copies) and online traffic (4 million visitors each month). One can't help but feel troubled, though. The newspaper industry's panicked attempts to branch out into every new platform from social networks to mobile phones should be prime satire fodder; the Onion, in doing the same thing with the same zeal (anyone remember "The Onion on Your PDA" ads?), is losing just a bit of its outsider soul every time it oh-so-self-effacingly bites a new fad. The Onion Brings Its Irreverent Satire to MySpace [News.com] Earlier: New ‘Onion’ Fake News: Actually Fake, Not So Funny

It's Expensive Being Rupert Murdoch

MEDIA • Did Dow Jones cost Rupert Murdoch an extra $1 billion just because he’s Rupert Murdoch? [Slate] • Rik Hertzberg to blog for The New Yorker. From YearlyKos. And without fact-checking. [WWD] • Doug Henwood feels guilty about enjoying The Nation’s cruise. Because liberals always feel guilty. [The Nation]

Rupert Murdoch Is Happy, Can't You Tell?

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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.

The Dow Jones Deal, Digested

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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.’”

Dow Jones Deal: All Over But the Shoutin'...

… 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":

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But, yeah, it's basically over. Bancroft Family Accepts Deal, Executive Says [Reuters via NYT]

Today's Bancroft-o-Meter: Rupe's Gonna Make It After All?

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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."

Today's Bancroft-o-Meter: Busted!

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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]

Privileged Spitzer

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• 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]

The Bancroft-o-Meter: Death to Rupert?

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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?

Today's Bancroft-o-Meter: Lukewarm, Maybe?

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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.

Bancrofts Meet, Say (Almost) Nothing

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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]

Know Your Bancrofts

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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.

After ‘WSJ’ Deal Closes, Will Pam and Jim at Least Get Together?

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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]

And in Non-Explosion News...

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• 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]

IHOP Bids for Applebee's: The End of an American Institution?

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There's news of an enormous, potentially game-changing corporate acquisition, the reverberations of which will be felt all across the country. We speak, of course, of the announcement that IHOP Corp. will buy the Applebee's chain for $2.1 billion. IHOP plans to convert the floundering Applebee's, one of the few company-owned national food chains, to the more popular franchise model. Though the deal appears to make immediate economic sense, we're naturally worried about the possible loss of Applebee's legendary culinary freedom. Will celebrity chef Tyler Florence, who had just unveiled his bruschetta burger and herb-crusted chicken breast for the fall menu, set to debut September 18, be allowed to continue his independent and aggressive experimentation under IHOP Corp.?

Stalled Traffic

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• After all that, Albany shelved Bloomberg's congestion-pricing idea, letting the federal-funding deadline pass without the issue even coming to a vote. Expect a new traffic-reducing proposal, nothing like Bloomberg's, later in the year. [NYT]

Did You Hear the One About the iPhone Nano?

FINANCE • A JP Morgan analyst got canned for writing a report about a fictional Apple product, the iPhone Nano. [Apple 2.0 via DealBreaker] • Using the screen name Rahodeb, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey posted on Yahoo Finance bulletin boards to bash competitor Wild Oats. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • The SEC tries to reclaim authority over hedge funds by writing rules allowing the agency to sue for misleading investors. [Bloomberg]