OLD Media Moves

NYTimes: Murdoch making offer Bancrofts can't refuse

May 1, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

The New York Times story about News Corp. making a $5 billion offer to acquire Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Marketwatch noted that CEO Rupert Murdoch would use the Dow Jones properties to provide content for his Fox Business Channel scheduled to launch later this year.

Rupert MurdochBut there are other reasons as well. And his high offer is an attempt to force a decision from the Bancroft family, the majority owners of Dow Jones.

Richard Siklos and Jeremy Peters wrote, “He has put out feelers in the past but determined that the Bancrofts were not interested in selling. This time, in offering such a large premium for the company, Mr. Murdoch may be trying to present the board with an offer it cannot resist. Like shares of other publishing companies, the stock of Dow Jones has slumped as readers and advertisers have migrated to the Internet, hampering the company’s ability to grow.

“In recent years, Mr. Murdoch has focused his effort more on businesses like his Fox film and TV studios, the BSkyB satellite service in Britain and his MySpace Web business. Meanwhile, the entire newspaper industry has come under pressure — most recently leading to the break-up of Knight-Ridder Inc. and a proposal led by the financier Sam Zell to take the Tribune Company private.

“The bid for Dow Jones in part reflects Mr. Murdoch’s belief that combining the company’s print and online assets with a television outlet could prove immensely valuable and competitive. Dow Jones co-owns, with NBC Universal, the television operations of CNBC in Asia and Europe. Under an arrangement that Mr. Murdoch would presumably seek to terminate, Dow Jones also provides news content to CNBC in the United States, and Wall Street Journal reporters are frequent contributors.”

Read more here.

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