Trusts & Estates

Lawyers Key to WSJ Sale

Will the Wall Street Journal be sold to Rupert Murdoch?

The answer may well depend on lawyers from a Boston firm who are trustees with power to control the fate of the company, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Lawyers from Hemenway & Barnes hold two out of three seats on several key trusts benefiting the Bancroft family, which holds a 64 percent stake in Dow Jones & Co. The family hired the trusts and estates firm in the 1940s after the first generation-skipping trusts were established to protect the assets from taxation.

Dow Jones correspondent Clarence Barron bought the company in 1902 for $130,000.

Senior partner Michael Elefante is the lead trustee. Despite his voting power, he is likely to respect the beneficiaries’ wishes—if he can figure out what they are.

“There are 35 adult family members who have 35 points of view,” Mr. Elefante told the Journal.

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