Murdoch Nears $5 Billion Purchase of Dow Jones

Murdoch is on the verge of acquiring The Wall Street Journal for $5 billion.

July 18, 2007 — -- He'll take The Wall Street Journal for $5 billion, please.

Australian tycoon and media mogul Rupert Murdoch is one step closer to owning the crown jewel of the journalism industry, with a takeover that is raising eyebrows from Dow Jones to the larger media world.

The board of Dow Jones said late Tuesday it was ready to sign off on Murdoch's proposal to buy the company for $5 billion.

Murdoch seemingly already has it all, from a private yacht and a 737 to a beautiful wife, not to mention the fact that the 76-year-old has amassed $9 billion by way of his media acquisitions. He's the titan behind "American Idol," the Fox News Channel and the tabloid New York Post.

Now that he has conquered sensationalist media, Murdoch is expanding, going for the gold standard of journalism, The Wall Street Journal. If the family that owns the controlling shares of Dow Jones & Co. OKs the deal, the Journal is his.

The man whose News Corp. empire spans the globe from Australia to Great Britain to the United States could own another prestigious name in financial news.

"What the Journal will give him is instant credibility in the world of business news and it will give him a name plate," Forbes' Dennis Kneale said.

Of course bold moves have become a staple of Murdoch's career -- not all of them successful. Murdoch won praise for his $580 million acquisition of the popular networking site, but critics believe he vastly overpaid for TV Guide in the 1980s. Most recently, he endured the embarrassment of green-lighting an O.J. Simpson-written book in which the former football star speculated about how he might have killed his ex-wife. He later reneged on the idea.

The final decision to sell The Wall Street Journal goes to the dominant shareholders of Dow Jones, the wealthy Bancroft family, who rejected Murdoch's first offer in May before later reconsidering.

Murdoch promises not to interfere in any editorial content at the Journal. But many staffers fear there is nothing fair and balanced about the man.

"His editorial views, his political views, his commercial interests bleed into the way stories are covered or not covered, and that's the great nightmare that the people at the Journal have," The New Yorker's Ken Auletta said.

Nightmare for some, perhaps, but a dream come true for the man who may soon truly have everything.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.