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Murdoch's News Corp. makes stunning takeover bid for Dow Jones

Murdoch's News Corp. makes stunning takeover bid for Dow Jones

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is making a multibillion-dollar move on The Wall Street Journal - a stunning takeover offer that would put his brand of tabloid sensationalism and one of the world's most revered news organizations under one roof.
In an aggressive bid to expand his global media stronghold and bolster his plans to launch a financial news cable network to rival CNBC, Murdoch's News Corp. launched a US$5 billion takeover bid for Journal owner Dow Jones.
Dow Jones' board said it's considering the offer, but a member of the Bancroft family, which controls more than half of the voting stock, said last night it would oppose Murdoch's bid of US$60 a share.
That leaves room for negotiations or a potential higher offer - perhaps by another bidder.
If Murdoch, 76, prevails, he would be adding the fabled Journal as well as the Dow Jones Newswires, the financial weekly Barron's and other media properties to his already expansive stable, which includes the Fox TV Network, the Fox News Channel, MySpace, 20th Century Fox and the New York Post.
"The idea is to dominate world financial news," said media investor Larry Haverty of Gamco Investors.
Although the Bancroft family may find it impossible to object if Murdoch comes up with more cash - and surely would face lawsuits from other investors - some media insiders believe the family will continue to fight.
"I can't imagine the day the Bancroft family will sell," said veteran newspaper analyst John Morton. "They've always felt their special mission was to protect The Wall Street Journal and maintain its reputation."
But at some point, Murdoch's money mountain could be too good to turn down.
His US$60-a-share bid was more than 60 percent higher than Dow Jones' stock price before the offer was announced. The stock soared almost US$20 a share yesterday, an astounding 55 percent.
With News Corp. shareholders fearing an expensive battle, its stock slid 4.2 percent.
Industry experts said media giants such as The New York Times Co. or The Washington Post Co. could join the fray. One business news rival flush with cash, Bloomberg, said it's not interested.
However, some believe corporate titan General Electric could make a bid for Dow Jones to protect its highly profitable CNBC. The cable channel is at risk if Murdoch buys Dow Jones because he'd use the media company's considerable clout to bulk up Fox Business News Channel, set to launch this fall.
Murdoch talked up the deal yesterday, telling his Fox News Channel that the Journal has "great journalists, it's got great management. (But) it needs to be part of a bigger organization to be taken further."


Updated : 2021-08-01 08:12 GMT+08:00