Thursday, May 03, 2007

News for Sale

Well done the Bancroft family for turning down a US$5 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for the acquisition of the Dow Jones news franchise. DJ includes not only the financial newswire, but also the mighty Wall Street Journal and the Barron's magazine. Murdoch is starting up his own 24-hour business news channel with the launch of a new financial channel under the FOX brand later this year, and amalgamating it with one of the most respected names in U.S. business journalism would be a major coup.

The overtures from News Corp are far from over, however. The Bancroft family, who collectively own a controlling stake in Dow Jones, now have to give way to the company's governing board, who also have a say. Also, it would be naive to blindly attribute the Bancrofts' refusal of the Murdoch offer to a burning desire to remain independent and preserve the objective (maybe?) mature of their news coverage - there's nothing stopping them, after all, from holding out until Rupe reaches deeper into his pockets to make an even better offer.

The Democrats, who now have control over both the Congress and the Senate, are said to be prepared to do whatever it takes to either stop or "slow down" the progress of the Murdoch offer being accepted... let's hope they're successful.


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