Phone hacking: Former Wall St Journal owners 'wouldn't have sold to Murdoch if they had known'
Members of the Bancroft family that controlled Dow Jones & Company have said that they would not have sold it to Rupert Murdoch if they had known about phone hacking.
The company, which publishes The Wall Street Journal, one of America's biggest newspapers, was sold to Murdoch's News Corp in a controversial $5 billion deal in 2007.
The decision split the Bancroft family, whose 35 adult members together held the majority of Dow Jones' voting power. Some feared The Wall Street Journal's reputation for journalistic integrity would be tarnished by the influence of the Murdoch empire.
Christopher Bancroft, one of the family members who had opposed the deal, said on Wednesday that he would have held out longer against the takeover had he known about phone hacking at News International.
"If I had known what I know now, I would have pushed harder against," he said.
He told the Guardian and ProPublica that the allegations "would have been more problematic for me. I probably would have held out".
Lisa Steele, another family member, said that it would have been "harder, if not impossible'' to have accepted Murdoch's offer if the facts had been known.
She said it was "complicated" and that there were "so many factors" in deciding whether to sell. But she said: "The ethics are clear to me ? what's been revealed, from what I've read in the Journal, is terrible. It may even be criminal."
The Bancroft family had controlled Dow Jones since 1902. Elisabeth Goth Chelberg, another family member, said in 2007 of the sale: "On the one hand it is quite sad, but on the other it was the only reasonable thing to do."
The Wall Street Journal reported that she said: "Now I look forward to a better Dow Jones. It's going to have more money and a world presence and all of the things that it could have and should have had but didn't."
But this week, asked if she would have favoured a sale to Murdoch in 2007 knowing what she now does, she said: "My answer is no."
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost