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Murdoch adding to his stack of papers

Alisa Roth Apr 22, 2008
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Murdoch adding to his stack of papers

Alisa Roth Apr 22, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Clearly Rupert Murdoch didn’t get to where he is by playing fast and loose with his money. His $5 billion investment in Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal’s proof enough of that… even though the paper’s managing editor did resign today.

But while most of the rest of the business world frets over the future of newsprint, Murdoch keeps on diving in. Today’s development is that his omnivorous News Corp’s going after the Long Island paper Newsday for something near $580 million.

From New York, Marketplace’s Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: It would take a tabloid writer to do justice to the headline, but it might read something like this: “Murdoch to the Daily News: Take That.”

John Morton is a newspaper industry analyst.

John Morton: I think what he, in the long run what he really wants is to own the only tabloid newspaper in New York City and I think this is in his view, a step in that direction.

Rupert Murdoch already owns the New York Post, the mortal enemy of the New York Daily News. Neither tabloid has much presence in the suburbs, which is what Murdoch would get with Newsday.

Murdoch would reportedly set up a joint venture with Newsday, which makes money, and the Post, which loses it. The two could sell ads together.

Newsday has a history of investigative journalism, but these days it’s primarily a local rag for Long Island. Certainly no Wall Street Journal, the most recent addition to the News Corp family.

Philip Meyer is a journalism professor at UNC-Chapel Hill:

Philip Meyer: But it’s still a paper with a good reputation and if one owns newspapers to build one’s ego, then that’s a pretty good one to get.

Still, it’s much to soon to stop the presses. Nothing’s been signed yet and the deal would almost certainly face some regulatory questions. Plus, it’s not clear Newsday’s current owner, Sam Zell of the Tribune Group, would sell for the $580 million Murdoch’s reportedly ready to pay.

Sure, it would take a bite out of the Tribune Group’s massive debt, but some say it would make more sense to hold on to Newsday, which is a pretty good cash cow.

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

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