Dow Drags, Murdoch Miffed, as Fox Business Network Launch Nears

13 July 2007

NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch, just one among a constellation of media and financial glitterati attending the top-tier annual conference hosted by US investment banker Herbert A Allen, was in frustrated mode Wednesday.

Speaking with a reporter from Associated Press, the News Corporation chairman/ceo complained about Dow Jones' controlling Bancroft family: "They keep changing their minds."

A trait not encouraged within Clan Murdoch.

But the media mogul refused to be further drawn on his prolonged negotiations with the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and its 35-strong controlling dynasty that corrals 64% of Dow's voting stock.

Given that Murdoch's patience in pursuit of quarry is legendary (DirecTV, for instance), some observers believe his edginess with the Bancrofts is significant.

They point to the upcoming launch of NewsCorp's latest biggie - Fox Business Network, an all-business cable channel - which (also on Wednesday) named October 15 as its launch date.

Just fourteen weeks to go and a whole lotta ad deals yet to be done with the famously skeptical marketers of the business world!

Murdoch urgently needs the authority of Dow and the WSJ behind him in the run-up to FBN's launch in order to to gain editorial credibility for the venture.

A done deal would be a vital boost for Fox - even if the purchase is still in its completion stages.

Little wonder, then, that patriarch Murdoch found time in his busy schedule to while away a day or two schmoozing with the president/ceo of the discreet but Hulk-like investment bank Allen & Company.

To say nothing of the myriad Fortune 500 business leaders with juicy advertising budgets who also attended the event.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald and New York Times; additional content by WARC staff