Murdoch's News Corp. Bid for Dow Jones Rejected

Just hours after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. made an unsolicited offer Tuesday to buy Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, the family that controls Dow Jones announced that it had rejected the bid.

The Bancroft family controls a little more than 50 percent of the votes at Dow Jones and announced after the stock market closed that it would reject the proposed bid.

The family did not comment on whether or not it would accept any other offer -- from Murdoch or somebody else. The family said only that it was rejecting the current bid.

Throughout the day, the possible sale of the nation's second-largest newspaper worried some.

News Corp. owns Fox News, the New York Post, TV Guide, MySpace and numerous other media outlets along with movie company 20th Century Fox.

  • The Dow Jones union president said the Wall Street Journal "is a premier publication and everything that News Corp. brings to the table runs the risk of tarnishing that reputation."

The company offered to buy all outstanding Dow Jones stock for $60 a share -- or about $5 billion.

The proposed sale price is significantly higher than the market value of Dow Jones before the offer was made public.

Shares of the media company opened Tuesday morning at $37.12 and jumped to just above $57.28 before trading was temporarily halted. It closed at $56.20. The company had traded between $32 and $40 a share over the last year.

The move comes just as News Corp. is gearing up to launch its own cable business channel this fall, which is expected to compete head-to-head with CNBC.

"This is the greatest newspaper in America," Murdoch said Tuesday afternoon on his Fox News Channel. "It needs to be part of a bigger organization to be taken further."

Murdoch has long eyed Dow Jones and said he hopes to find millions of new readers around the world online. He said financial news is one of the few news items that companies can charge for.

Plan for Fox Business Channel

Talking about his cable business network in February, Murdoch said he "long considered the business television market to be underserved."

Fox Business Channel will start with at least 30 million subscribers after getting distribution deals with Time Warner, Comcast, Charter and DirecTV.

One major stumbling block might be the contract CNBC has until 2012 with The Wall Street Journal to have its reporters appear on the competing cable business network.

"There are a lot of other things in The Journal, and their editors appear on Fox every Sunday," Murdoch said Tuesday when asked about that deal.

The Wall Street Journal's influence goes well beyond its readers.

The news on the front page of the nation's major newspapers often drives coverage at other papers and TV stations across the country.

When asked if another company might try a higher bid, such as Bloomberg, Murdoch said, "We're paying a very, very high premium that I don't think they could reach."

USA Today sold 2.28 million newspapers a day as of March 31, according to preliminary figures filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The Wall Street Journal followed, with 2.06 million readers and The New York Times had 1.22 million. No other paper in the country tops 1 million readers a day.

Union Opposition

Steve Yount, president of the union and representing 2,000 reporters and other employees at Dow Jones, called ownership by Murdoch "a disaster," particularly for The Wall Street Journal.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...