DBJ Gets Inside the Murdoch-Journal deal

August 1 2007, 7:47 PM
When I wrote yesterday about the Denver connection to the sale of the Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch, I was puzzled that our daily newspapers had missed the obvious opportunity to localize a big national story. Today, the Denver Business Journal fills that void with an an in-depth interview with Lynn Hendrix, one of  the Holme Roberts and Owen attorneys who oversee a trust that controls 9.1 percent of Dow Jones, the Journal's parent company. Hendrix, whose firm nearly scuttled the deal, describes "an exhausting series of late-night negotiations in recent days leading to approval of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's bid to acquire the company."
Murdoch formally made his $60-a share offer to the Dow Jones board April 17. From that time on, Hendrix and [co-trustee Charles] Ramunno argued that B shares were worth more than common shares because of their extra voting firepower and therefore they should command a higher price. "We felt it was important to get additional compensation for the B stock and we argued gor that long and hard," he said. "But unfortunately, some of the family advisors were not as convinced."
By the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Denver lawyers saw the writing on the wall.
Ultimately, Hendrix and Ramunno decided "that it was better to take the deal at $60, which all the advisors said was a fabulous price, than to take the chance that News Corp. would withdraw the offer, which we were told very firmly and often that it would," Hendrix told The Denver Business Journal Wednesday in an interview at his office."Who knows if they really would or not?" he added. "But we felt it best to secure for the trusts a $60 per share price."
Nice work, DBJ.