Media Moves

Murdoch's timing is impeccable

May 1, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera writes for Wednesday’s paper that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion bid for Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones & Co. is impeccable in its timing.

Joe NoceraNocera noted that Dow Jones replaced its CEO slightly more than a year ago, and yet the stock price has done nothing since. In addition, he points out that a growing number of members of the Bancroft family, which own a controlling stake in Dow Jones, have become dissatisfied with the stock price.

But, Nocera added, the Bancroft family is not a fan of Murdoch and his management style. He wrote, “But both he and the majority of the family have long harbored a deep dislike for the way Mr. Murdoch’s runs his newspapers. And they have long believed that turning the paper over to him — even at such a substantial premium — would be a betrayal of the Wall Street Journal’s glorious heritage as a great and serious newspaper, which they’ve owned for over 100 years.”

Nocera predicted that if Murdoch’s offer is shunned, Dow Jones’ stock will fall below the $36 price it was trading at before the offer was made. And that might force the Bancrofts to consider a sale.

Read more here. A Times Select subscription is required. Nocera, when he was at Fortune, wrote a story that first exposed a rift among the Bancroft family called “Heard on the Street” in 1997. He followed up with another story about the family in 1998.

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