Dow Jones Board Will Negotiate with NewsCorp

22 June 2007

NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch appears to be closing in on his acquisition quarry, US business and finance information publisher Dow Jones.

The firm's board of directors says it will oversee negotiations with News Corporation over its $5 billion (€3.7bn; £2.5bn) bid, as controlling family, the Bancrofts, near agreement to protect the editorial independence of their crown jewel, the Wall Street Journal.

The 16-strong board will now evaluate all options for Dow Jones' future, including the possibility of remaining independent, but its direct involvement in the talks could bring about a swifter conclusion in favour of NewsCorp.

General Electric has said its possible joint bid with UK-headquartered publisher Pearson will not proceed and talks between the two had only been exploratory.

But Brad Greenspan, founder of social networking website MySpace now owned by NewsCorp, has offered to buy a 25% stake in Dow Jones for $60-a-share - the same level as the Murdoch bid.

The safeguards constructed by the Bancrofts, who control 64% of Dow Jones' voting shares, include protections for key editors, an independent editorial board and an unspecified amount of power for the family to enforce the provisions.

Comments family spokesman Roy Winnick: "This is an approach that the family directors and the Dow Jones board as a whole have jointly concluded is the best way to proceed. It will have teeth, it will be enforceable."

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff