News Corp. offer for Dow Jones & Co. has interesting possibilities
The Bancroft family, which holds a controlling interest in Dow Jones & Co., owes Rupert Murdoch a big thank-you.
Mr. Murdoch's News Corp., owner of such media giants as Fox television and films, MySpace and the New York Post, submitted an unsolicited, "friendly" offer of $ 5 billion to purchase Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal. While Dow Jones stock has fluctuated between $32 and $40 for the past year, News Corp.'s offer is $60 a share.
Shares of Dow Jones soared to more than $57 Tuesday — a jump of 58 percent — after cable-television business-news channel CNBC broke news of the offer. CNBC is a jointly owned venture of Dow Jones and General Electric, the parent company of NBC television.
Tempting as the offer may be, the Bancroft family said it would use its majority ownership of Dow Jones to oppose the offer.
We can't help but speculate on some of the possibilities of a News Corp.-owned Dow Jones & Co.
For example, we can't quite grasp Mr. Murdoch redesigning the staid, gray Journal to become a tabloid-size publication featuring a full-page photo and lurid headline on the front each day, ala the New York Post.
The aforementioned CNBC network also holds some entertaining possibilities for the proposed venture. We would like to see NBC's Keith Olbermann and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly co-host a primetime show. Call it "Countdown to Lunacy." Mr. Olbermann and Mr. O'Reilly could debate the news of the day before donning wrestling tights and facing off on the ring.
After the Bancroft family rejection, the ball is now in Mr. Murdoch's court. He can increase his friendly offer, attempt a hostile takeover or simply forgo his ambition (although the latter does not seem consistent with Mr. Murdoch's personality).