Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Future of The Wall Street Journal?

From today’s Associated Press filings:
The fate of Dow Jones & Co. now rests with the Bancroft family, the longtime controlling shareholders, who must decide whether to sell the publisher of The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The board of Dow Jones said late Tuesday it was ready to sign off on Murdoch’s proposal to buy the company for $5 billion. However, the key remains with the Bancroft family, whose three dozen members have been deeply divided over whether to sell to Murdoch. The are expected to meet Monday to discuss the deal.

Dow Jones wound up agreeing to Murdoch’s initial offer without a last-minute price increase, as efforts by some board members and a union representing Wall Street Journal reporters failed to come up with viable alternatives to Murdoch’s $60-per-share bid, which represents a premium of about 65 percent over where Dow Jones shares were trading before the offer became public in early May.

If the Bancrofts do sink the deal, it would surely result in a sharp drop in Dow Jones shares and increase the likelihood of shareholder lawsuits.
Read the whole story here.

The front-page mockup shown above, reportedly created by one of the art directors at The New York Times, represents the worst fears of WSJ reporters: That Murdoch, the Australia-born media mogul most synonymous with the tabloidish New York Post, will try to turn the Journal--now well respected for its business news coverage, if not its right-wing editorial page--into a sleazy, cheesy national newspaper “alternative” to the Times. It’s no wonder that WSJ reporters went on strike recently, both to make a statement about journalistic integrity (which they fear would be sacrificed under Murdoch) and to protest planned cutbacks in their health-care benefits.

READ MORE:Bancroft Family Split on Murdoch Sale,” by Seth Sutel (AP); “Murdoch’s Arrival Worries Journal Employees,” by Richard Pérez-Peña (The New York Times).

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