Attorney Fees

Dissenter Hits Fat Fees in WSJ Deal

An opponent of Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion agreement to buy the company that owns the Wall Street Journal is criticizing the sweetener that helped seal the deal: News Corp.’s agreement to pick up the Bancroft family’s legal and banking tab.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) posted a statement by James Ottaway that was critical of the $30 million in estimated fees owed to investment bankers and lawyers, including law firms Hemenway & Barnes of Boston and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. One family member told the newspaper that Wachtell Lipton alone stands to earn a $10 million fee.

Bancroft family members owning 37 percent of the voting power agreed to the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal story. Ottowa’s family controls only 7 percent of the voting power.

“At this global information age, it is outrageous that anyone should have to pay an estimated $30 million to outside advisers,” Ottoway said. “It is ironic indeed for the Bancroft family to have to pay 30 shekels of silver to their investment bankers, and 30 shekels of gold to their corporate lawyers, for scaring some of them into betraying their 105-year family loyalty to Dow Jones independence.”

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