News Corp. Bids $5B on Dow Jones Empire

Shares of financial publishing empire Dow Jones  soared more than 58 percent today to $57.28 on news that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bid
$60 a share for the publishing empire that owns The Wall Street Journal. It may all be for naught, however, as the family that owns a controlling interest in the company said they would vote against the offer.

The unsolicited offer, which works out to about $5 billion based on the
number of shares outstanding, could put the Dow Jones publishing empire into
play if other media powerhouses step up with their own bids. In addition to
the Journal, Dow Jones publishes Barrons, the online financial news
network Marketwatch.com and the Dow Jones wire service.

Dow Jones issued a statement today that confirmed that it had received an
unsolicited proposal from News Corp. to acquire all of the outstanding
shares of Dow Jones common stock and Class B common stock for $60.00 per
share in cash, or in a combination of cash and News Corporation securities.

This was followed by a another statement from Michael Elefante, a representative of the Bancroft family, which said “members of the family and the trustees of trusts for their benefit have advised him that they will vote shares constituting slightly more than 50% of the outstanding voting power of Dow Jones as of April 30th excluding options against the
proposal submitted by News Corporation to acquire all of the outstanding
shares of Dow Jones common stock and Class B common stock for $60.00 per
share.”

Without the Bancroft family’s blessings, the offer goes nowhere. The latest statement leaves the ball in Murdoch’s court on whether to
sweeten the bid or try other approaches — and left the market abuzz on talk
of whether the bid would inspire more. Stocks of other media companies also
rose today.

News Corp. has been riding high in the media world since its acquisition
of MySpace.com, the popular social networking site, amid a rush among
publishers to acquire more online advertising inventory as more ad dollars
migrate online.

The bid for Dow Jones comes amid a critical time for publishers that are
coping with readers ebbing away from print in favor of getting more of their
news online.

Shares of New Corp fell by $1.01, or about 4.21 percent to $22.99 in
regular trading today but were heading upward in after-hours trading. News
Corp. also owns the Fox Network, Fox News Channel, The New York Post as well as major
publications in Europe.

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