On April 25, less than a week before the $60-a-share offer was publicly disclosed, an investor bought an option to buy 280,000 shares of Dow Jones for $40 each in September.Gosh, I wonder who it could be...? The initial bid proposal was formally made in a letter Murdoch sent two weeks ago. And the Bancrofts are a big family. So there are plenty of suspects for the police to round up, right? Yeah, right, now pull the other one!
The investment was extraordinary for several reasons. Shares of Dow Jones were trading at about $36 at the time and had not crossed $40 in a year. The future for newspaper companies, meanwhile, was widely considered to be grim. As a result, the options cost the investor a mere 85 cents a share on the American Stock Exchange.
After Murdoch's offer was announced Tuesday, however, shares of Dow Jones shot up to $56 and the value of the options jumped to $17.20. The buyer of the options had a profit, on paper, of $4.6 million as of Wednesday afternoon...
The chances of this being just shrewd timing are zero," said Jon Najarian, a founder of OptionMonster.com, a site that studies unusual trading patterns.
Even with the more blatantly skewed options trades, though, investigators could have a hard time proving insider trading.Great work if you can get it, eh? What a massive bloody scam. No wonder these a**holes think ordinary citizens like me and you are just dumb fools, and they can invade countries for oil anytime they like.
Officials would have to trace the flow of insider information to the investors who benefited from the options trade through someone familiar with News Corp.'s overture to the Dow Jones board and the Bancroft family, which has a controlling voting interest in the company. Officials would also have to prove that the person making the trade did not have another legitimate reason to buy the options.
What must life be like, up there in the clouds?
In a related story, here's a funny little response to Murdoch's bid from the pages of the WSJ itself:
Some owners of newspapers seldom, if ever, speak to their editors. Rupert Murdoch is not one of them....In other words, the WSJ's genuine news content provides a platform for the Bancrofts to spout ultra-conservative, half-witted nonsense in the paper's editorial, and to publish opinion pieces from propaganda-catapulting charlatans like Arthur Chrenkoff and the Fadhil brothers. Hardly a good position from which to criticize the ethics of Big Rupe.
Mr. Murdoch's hands-on style differs markedly from the traditions of the publisher he now wants to buy. The Bancroft family, the controlling shareholder of Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones & Co., has long maintained a distance from the company's operations. The family, which owns 24.7% of the equity but through supervoting stock has voting control, has board representation but no involvement with direct management of the paper. While the editorial page has a conservative political viewpoint, a strict separation is enforced between the editorial page and the newsroom, designed to ensure opinion and news coverage don't mix.