It’s official: Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ) shareholders have approved the sale of the company to News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) In the end, shares representing 60.27 percent of the total voting power were cast in favor of the deal. Of the Class B shares that were voted, most of which were held by the controlling Bancroft family, 54 percent were cast in favor. Common shareholders overwhelmingly approved the deal, with 94 percent of votes cast going in favor. The official sale close is yet to come. That is expected to happen at the close of business today. Release.
The meeting, in a ballroom at the Marriott Financial Center hotel, would have been quite short, with little more than formal motions, but for an appearance from famed shareholder activist Evelyn Davis, who was the only shareholder to speak up. Davis supported the deal, but castigated the company for spending $70 million on various fees during the process. She also suggested that CEO Rich Zannino’s $20 million gold parachute was excessive, given his relatively brief tenure at the company. Nonetheless, she stepped up to the dais and handed Zannino a golden handkerchief, while giving him a peck on the cheek.
Update: Technically, the handover hasn’t even happened yet, but already there’s some tension. To celebrate, News Corp. is planning a newspaper ad blitz congratulating itself on the deal. But both the Financial Times and China Daily are refusing to run it, reports Fortune. China Daily’s reasoning is pretty straightforward: certain words in the ad would have required approval from state officials. FT objected to News Corp.’s use of superlatives, and demand that the ad be changed to call Dow Jones “one of” the greatest financial journalism brands, as opposed to “the” greatest financial journalism brand. Not surprisingly, News Corp. wouldn’t acquiesce.