WSJ’s Baker: Our M&A coverage is “outstanding”
Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker sent out the following to the staff on Monday:
While much attention has inevitably been focused elsewhere, we’ve had a stellar run of exclusives and deeply reported enterprise journalism in the last couple of weeks and I wanted to pay tribute to all those responsible for our consistently excellent reporting.
In Washington, our political team has rounded the final bend of the election race at an accelerating clip. While many other news organizations seem to have largely abandoned any last effort to be fair in their coverage, ours has been conspicuously objective, penetrating, intelligent, and, yes, fair. We’ve chronicled the foibles and flaws of both presidential candidates, with extensive examination of Donald Trump’s business career and shifting political views and we’ve similarly broken important ground in Hillary Clinton’s official record and in the complex web of financial activities around the Clinton Foundation and family. In the last week especially, the reporting by Devlin Barrett on the feud within the FBI and the Justice Department over the various investigations were the product of exceptionally deep reporting and have had significant impact. Best of all, our explanatory reporting on the economic, political and social factors behind this unusual election has brilliantly illuminated the broader context of our modern politics.
We have continued to excel in coverage of our core areas of corporate, financial and economic stories. In the last few weeks we’ve added to our long track record of outstanding M&A scoops. Our crack deals team, often working with corporate colleagues, broke the transformative GE- Baker Hughes deal, first the talks and then details, as well as the $24 billion CenturyLink – Level 3 deal and more recently Valeant’s advanced talks to sell Salix, a scoop that moved Valeant shares by $34%. This group has now broken the three biggest tech deals ever. The scoop last month on talks between Qualcomm and NPX Semiconductors, a since-confirmed $39 billion deal, completes a trio including exclusives last year on merger talks between Dell and EMC and between Avago and Broadcom. The team also broke news of the advanced talks and final terms of AT&T’s blockbuster purchase of Time Warner. And on that frenetic weekend, they slipped in a scoop on the roughly $6 billion Rockwell Collins-B/E Aerospace tie-up. They also broke news of the expected size ($25+billion) and timing of the Snap IPO which was one of our most-well-read stories in October.
We are indebted to the leadership and reporting prowess of Dana Cimilluca, his outstanding team and the many corporate reporters and editors throughout the world who successfully join forces with them.
Our enterprise journalism, reflected especially in a string of outstanding leders, has been first-class. The series from our financial team on passive investing documented one of the most important trends in modern financial history. We’ve had great corporate coverage – including excellent detailed reporting on Samsung, Caterpillar and McDonalds among others. We’ve had a succession of powerful leders on the changing nature of the US economy, and demographics. And of course we have kept a smile on our readers’ faces with some entertaining and informative a-heds, – including one on the vital topic of cheese dip that sparked a fight between senators from neighboring states. Our features reporting has been consistently strong – a number of engaging articles have demonstrated again the reach of our coverage, including a particularly moving and powerful account by Steven Russolillo about a kidney donation to his new mother-in-law.
What is most encouraging is that not only do these stories give us great satisfaction as examples of outstanding journalism in their own right, but we also know, thanks to our data analysis, that these are exactly the stories that generate subscriptions for the Journal. Enterprise reporting and exclusives, especially in our core subject fields, account for the vast bulk of new subscriptions to the Journal and are contributing greatly to the accelerating growth that will secure a prosperous future for us.
I’m enormously grateful to all of you, who work so hard every day to produce such unrivaled journalism.