Shares of Dow Jones were recently down 79 cents, or 1.4%, to $55.66, indicating that the market is pricing in a small possibility that Murdoch's $60-a-share offer will fall through.
The Bancrofts' reluctance comes partly from misgivings about News Corp.'s editorial standards and practices. Dow Jones negotiated a set of safeguards for the editorial policies of its media properties, but it's unclear whether key members have been persuaded to accept the deal.
"There is both philosophical and probably even some level of personal contempt that some of the Bancrofts have for Murdoch -- if not for him personally, at least for his business methodology and his ability to infuse his politics and business interests into the coverage of his news outlets," says Murray Schwartz, a mergers and acquisitions attorney with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. "The thought of that stuff being applied to a venerable newspaper like the
is probably nauseating to some of these people, but when you're offered this much money for a newspaper that doesn't justify that price on any financial basis, it's very hard to refuse it."
Rejecting the deal would not only cause the Bancrofts to lose a chance to cash out with big gains, but they would also see their stock holdings plummet.
"If the Bancrofts reject this deal, forgetting all the other ramifications involved, they as a family are likely to see the value of their holdings drop by about a half a billion dollars," says Richard Dorfman, managing director with Richard Alan Inc., a financial advisory and investment firm focused on the media industry. "That's an amount they aren't likely to recoup anytime soon, if ever."