NWS-DJ: Bancrofts Dither, Hand Murdoch Right To Fill Their Board Slot

About the only thing the Bancrofts are proving on their way out the Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) door is how shaky the family alliance was all along. The latest sign: the Bancrofts dithered so long on their choice of a nominee for the News Corp. board slot that was part of the merger agreement, they essentially lost the right to make their own choice. Instead, reports the Journal, the board seat guaranteed for 10 years will go to Natalie Bancroft, “a 27-year-old opera singer living in Europe who, by her own admission, is a relative neophyte to the worlds of both journalism and commerce.” Murdoch didn’t make the pick but vetoed both former LA Times editor John Carroll and family member Mike Hill, the latter as too activist, according to the Journal. He also indicated an interest in adding a woman to the all-male News Corp. board.
The Bancrofts first blew a 30-day deadline to make their own nomination. Former managing editor Paul Steiger turned down the post; he doesn’t want to serve on company boards. Their emails, published on WSJ.com, depict the disarray. Crawford Hill: “This entire, sad and pathetic, final episode is a fiasco. No wonder we lost Dow Jones!!”
Natalie Bancroft and other family members self-nominated. Murdoch preferred Elizabeth Steele but she demurred. Murdoch eventually chose Natalie Bancroft, who initially opposed the sale but was on a sailing trip when the actual vote was taken. News Corp. reports earnings Wednesday and this is likely to come up.
DJ shareholder meeting scheduled: In an amended SEC filing Tuesday, DJ said the shareholder vote would be held Dec. 13.