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Murdoch has a jones to buy WSJ parent

Alisa Roth May 1, 2007
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Murdoch has a jones to buy WSJ parent

Alisa Roth May 1, 2007
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KAI RYSSDAL: If you read the newspapers at all, you know this isn’t a great time for the newspaper business. And yet, Rupert Murdoch wants in. Farther in, I guess we should say.

Murdoch’s NewsCorp already controls some big English and Australian papers, as well as the New York Post. Today, it made a play for Dow Jones, parent company of The Wall Street Journal. From New York, Marketplace’s Alisa Roth has the story.


ALISA ROTH: Rupert Murdoch says he’s ready to pay $5 billion for Dow Jones. That’s $60 a share.

ED ATORINO: It’s a hell of an offer, given the fact that the stock was $36 this morning.

That’s Ed Atorino. He follows Dow Jones. But he says Dow Jones would be a bargain even at $60 a share, since its stock has been undervalued lately.

ATORINO: They have a great brand, they’ve expanded into the online business, They’re building a global financial platform. They started the Saturday journal, they got more color. They’ve been doing a lot of innovative things.

Traditional newspaper companies have been struggling to compete with the Internet. Dow Jones is considered one of the few news companies that’s done a good job handling the transition.

Dow Jones says it’s looking at Murdoch’s offer. But buying the company won’t involve just a simple shareholder vote. The company’s stock is controlled by the Bancroft family through a special class of shares.

Newspaper analyst John Morton says he doubts the family will be tempted.

JOHN MORTON: They have for decades made adamantly clear that they have no intention of allowing Dow Jones, and most particularly The Wall Street Journal, to fall into other hands. They’ve been very protective of the Journal’s independence, and unless that’s changed — which I highly doubt — nothing will happen of this.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reports a family representative has told the company’s board there are enough votes to block a buyout. It’s unclear whether opponents mean it or are just looking for a higher bid.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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