Managing to Sell but Failing to Communicate: The Case of the Family Behind Dow Jones

Managing to Sell but Failing to Communicate: The Case of the Family Behind Dow Jones

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Abstract

Dow Jones, a long-standing family business started in 1882, had diluted ownership distributed among more than 35 family members by 2007. Since 1990, the company had underperformed relative to peers, such as NewsCorp. When NewsCorp made an offer to purchase the corporation, the owning family members were divided over whether to sell. After initially rejecting the bid from NewsCorp, a new offer was accepted on the condition that a Bancroft family member would be appointed to the board of NewsCorp to represent the interests of Dow Jones. The family had 30 days to nominate a representative but failed to make a decision and therefore lost its right to choose a family representative. What went wrong?

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