What Everyone's Saying About Rupert Murdoch's Bid For Dow Jones

On April 17, Rupert Murdoch made a $5 billion bid for the Dow Jones company, owner of the Wall Street Journal and other properties. Here's how it's playing out. A trustee for the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones through a dual-class stock structure, "said that members representing slightly more than 50 percent of the voting shares would oppose the current proposal." That sounds like a "no way"—but it really might be a ploy to jack up the price. Former Journalist Joe Nocera notes that the family has long disliked Murdoch's brand of newspaper, but at $60 a share, aesthetics become less important. Murdoch thinks there'll be a meeting about it all in a couple weeks. The Journal says the bid puts the family in an interesting spot: "Should the Bancrofts decide to pursue any deal, however, Dow Jones will have been considered 'in play' and its directors obligated to obtain the best deal possible."

Murdoch's vision for the takeover: "Dow Jones's content would feed News Corp.'s nascent TV business channel, while also pumping through the rest of its extensive media properties around the globe." While some News Corp. shareholders expressed doubt over the bid (and its hefty price tag), Murdoch's got a track record you'd be hesitant to bet against.

Plus, the high price of the bid makes it unlikely that others will enter the fray, although that doesn't stop anyone from naming potential suitors (a list which generally includes The Washington Post Company, The New York Times Company, investor Warren Buffett, and General Electric, which needs to a least consider the proposition in light of the fact that Murdoch's imminent business news channel would have a much better shot at competing with CNBC.)

The proposal caused a rise in the stock price of many newspaper companies and had a similar effect on the larger market. One media analyst notes that the offer "calls a bottom" on newspaper stocks. Does the bid raise anti-trust concerns? The Justice Department had nothing to say—but don't forget that Murdoch has a waiver from the FCC to own the NY Post, on the grounds that "it has not been profitable for years."