2007-12-06 Dow Jones CEO to leave after News Corp. takeover

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<hide> <let name=data index=Date>2007-12-06</let> <let name=data index=Source>MarketWatch</let> <let name=data index=Author>David B. Wilkerson</let> <let name=data index=Topics>\media consolidation\News Corporation\Rupert Murdoch\Dow Jones\economic disparity</let> <let name=data index=URL>http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/dow-jones-shakeup-begins-ahead/story.aspx?guid=%7B912E5E04-CCC7-4D9D-824E-4ED1E3913513%7D</let> <let name=data index=Title>Dow Jones CEO to leave after News Corp. takeover</let> <let name=data index=TextShort>“Dow Jones & Co. Chief Executive Richard Zannino said Thursday he'll step down from his post after News Corp.'s pending acquisition of the company closes, beginning what is expected to be a series of high-level executive changes in connection with the historic change in ownership.”</let> <let name=data index=Text>

Dow Jones & Co. Chief Executive Richard Zannino said Thursday he'll step down from his post after News Corp.'s pending acquisition of the company closes, beginning what is expected to be a series of high-level executive changes in connection with the historic change in ownership.

In a statement, Zannino, 49, said he had been in talks with Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp., since September about exiting once the transaction has been completed.

News Corp. reached an agreement earlier this year to acquire Dow Jones ... in a $5.6 billion deal, and Dow Jones shareholders are due to vote at a special meeting next Thursday, with the deal expected to close soon afterwards. Dow Jones is the parent company of MarketWatch, the publisher of this report, along with The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and Dow Jones Newswires.

The impending takeover has spurred intensive speculation that Murdoch would seek a number of other high-level changes among Zannino's top lieutenants.

In a Dow Jones proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year, the company said Zannino could take home a severance package worth at least $19 million in cash and stock under a provision that his resignation can be considered "constructive termination."

Dow Jones has been controlled by the Bancroft family for many decades, and at first the family resisted Murdoch's offer due to concerns about concerns about editorial independence. Eventually, however, the significant premium offered by News Corp., along with assurances that an editorial board would be set up to protect the journalistic principles of the Journal, convinced a decisive portion of the Bancrofts to support the buyout.

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