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Family business on the couch

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In August, the Bancroft family gave up control of Dow Jones, the publishing group it had owned for some 105 years. The group, which includes the Wall Street Journal, has been taken over by another family-controlled business, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, for US$5 billion.

According to Randel Carlock, the Berghmans Lhoist Chaired Professor in Entrepreneurial Leadership and Director of the Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise at INSEAD, the Bancrofts had a clear idea of the values they wanted associated with the Wall Street Journal brand - a strong sense of editorial integrity and independence. However, they had been unable to steward the Wall Street Journal into the 21st century as other competitors passed them by and Dow Jones’ stock price fell sharply.

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