OLD Media Moves

Bancrofts would ask for same safeguards with GE/Pearson offer

June 18, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Aaron Patrick and Sarah Ellison of The Wall Street Journal write for Tuesday’s paper that the Bancroft family that controls Dow Jones & Co. would ask for similar editorial safeguards for the Journal from GE and Pearson that they have asked for from News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch should they combine to make a bid for the company.

GE owns business news cable network CNBC, while Pearson is the parent company of The Financial Times. Combined with the Journal, they could comprise the largest business journalism outfit in the world.

Patrick and Ellison wrote, “Bancroft-family members, who haven’t been briefed on the GE-Pearson talks, were concerned that GE and Pearson might cut staff and shut the Journal’s international editions, people familiar with the matter said.

“‘It wouldn’t be optimal at all,’ one Bancroft said. ‘The fact that Murdoch wants to commit to dumping capital into the business after a sale is a good thing.’ Other family members said a GE-Pearson deal sounded like a good fit.”

Later, they noted, “The easiest way to meet the cost-savings goals would be for the newspapers to cut their biggest expense — journalists. The Wall Street Journal has roughly 700 reporters and editors, and about 100 of them work outside the U.S., while the Financial Times has 510 journalists, the majority of whom are in the United Kingdom. While it is unlikely the two newspapers would be combined, they could share some stories, allowing the FT to cut its staff in the U.S. and the Journal to cut back in Europe.”

Read more here.

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