Several key members of the Bancroft family, which sold the respected Wall Street Journal to global news mogul Rupert Murdoch in 2007, are having second thoughts in light of the phone hacking scandal engulfing Murdoch’s News International in Britain, Richard Tofel reports at ProPublica.
“If I had known what I know now, I would have pushed harder against” the Murdoch bid, Christopher Bancroft told Tofel.
“What’s been revealed, from what I’ve read in the Journal, is terrible; it may even be criminal,” said Lisa Steele, another family member on the board of Dow Jones & Co., which owned the Journal.
Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones was $60 a share–a 67 percent premium, $2.25 billion over the market price. The deal closed in August 2007, six months after an editor at Murdoch’s News of the World was jailed for hiring a private detective to access voicemails left for members of the royal household. Since then, News of the World has been accused of hacking into hundreds of other voicemails, including those of murder and terrorism victims and their families.
Not all family members regret the sale. “I’m pretty happy being out of the newspaper business altogether,” Bill Cox III said.