Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich Fine issued a research report on Wall Street Journal and Barron’s parent Dow Jones Inc. in which she said that the company, the subject of takeover speculation in recent years, is unlikely to be sold anytime soon because of the new management put in place, which is being given a chance by the controlling Bancroft family to improve the performance.
However, Fine downgraded the company from ‘neutral’ to ‘sell,’ meaning all of the reporters and editors who work for the company and own the stock in their 401(k) plan took a hit to their retirement savings. The stock fell 3.2 percent, but is still up 7 percent for the year.
The Associated Press reported, “Fine said in a note to investors that the shares looked expensive and that ad momentum could be slow in the second half of the year. She also said that while Dow Jones shares are occasionally bolstered by speculation that the company could be sold, she said this was unlikely in the near term. The Bancroft family group retains voting control of Dow Jones through a special class of stock.
“Fine said the fact that Dow Jones hasn’t raised its first-quarter earnings outlook, despite good ad linage growth, ‘suggests weaker ad rate realization, and higher costs.'”
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