Media Moves

Wall Street Journal held news of News Corp. offer for parent

May 8, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Richard Perez Pena of the New York Times write Tuesday that editors at the Wall Street Journal held the story that its parent company, Dow Jones & Co., had received a $5 billion offer from News Corp. for a week before the story was broken by CNBC.

Paul SteigerThe players here are News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino and Journal managing editor Paul Steiger, set to retire at the end of the year.

They write, “According to people briefed on the situation, Mr. Murdoch first approached Mr. Zannino the week of April 9, and they had a breakfast meeting at which Mr. Murdoch expressed his interest in buying Dow Jones. Mr. Murdoch then submitted a letter to the Dow Jones board on April 17, formally making an offer.

“Several days after that, he sent an e-mail message marked ‘Personal and Confidential’ to Mr. Steiger telling him of the bid, and offering his reassurances that he would uphold the editorial integrity of The Journal if he were successful.

“Mr. Steiger felt bound by the ‘confidential’ nature of his communications with Mr. Murdoch, according to people within Dow Jones, and it weighed heavily on his decision.

“Several other editors were aware of the offer, these people said, including Marcus Brauchli, the chosen successor to Mr. Steiger who is scheduled to begin his new duties next week; Dan Hertzberg, deputy managing editor; and Nikhil Deogun, the paper’s Money and Investing editor. Mr. Brauchli, Mr. Hertzberg and Mr. Deogun all declined to comment.”

Read more here.

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