Gearing up for the start of a new Business TV channel, ostensibly to compete against Bloomberg, Murdoch's effort to buy the Dow Jones media conglomerate, with ownership controlled by the Bankcroft family, will proceed to the next step, being put to the full DOW Jones board, this evening.
Today's Wall Stret Journal reports,
"In what could be the final round of talks, yesterday negotiators from News Corp. and Dow Jones -- including Chief Executive Richard F. Zannino, company advisers and two independent directors -- reached an agreement in principle on a deal first proposed by News Corp. in mid-April. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch resisted pressure from Dow Jones to raise his initial $60-a-share offer, which represented a 67% premium to where the Dow Jones stock was trading before news of the offer became public. But Mr. Murdoch suggested the possibility of nominating former Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger to the board of News Corp., according to a person who was there.
The deal still faces its biggest hurdle -- getting approval from the Bancroft family, which controls 64% of Dow Jones's voting power. Mr. Zannino has indicated to News Corp. that the family's position on the deal is too close to call, according to a person who spoke to him."- Advertisement -
The WSJ also reports that family members holding blocks of stock representing various 15% shares in the company are opposed to the sale or to selling to Murdoch.
This sale is certain to drastically change the landscape of American and world journalism. The Wall Street Journal's news reporting is among the most respected in the world. Murdoch's brand of journalism is among the most disdained journalism, held in highest contempt.
The acquisition can only taint the WSJ brand. But, with Murdoch gearing up to take a new, Business news Network live this fall, this acquisition is a brilliant and instant way to give the new network credibility, clout and ability to sell advertising, particularly to the right wingers who alredy love and drink the koolaid that Fox News delivers. Now, the right wingers in the business and finance world will have a source of TV news untainted by impartial reporting, fully "biasable" by the expert propagandists Murdoch has the knack for hiring.
That said, there are some vestiges of hope, either that the deal will not be finallized or that the Bancropft family will have forced Murdock to buy with a condition to the sale that limits Murdock, as the NY Times reports,
The Bancrofts have shown great ambivalence throughout the process. They initially rejected Mr. Murdoch’s offer, then weeks later agreed to hear from News Corporation and any other potential bidders.
The reported deal may put pressure on the family to come to a resolution, because it suggests that management and the board believe that the offer should be accepted and, by implication, that it is a better option than going it alone.
Still, handicapping a vote by the Bancrofts is made more difficult because most of their shares are held in dozens of family trusts. In most cases, a trust can sell only if its three trustees vote to do so.
The family demanded, as a condition of considering a sale, a binding agreement that would limit News Corporation’s ability to hire and fire the top editors of The Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, which would, in turn, limit Mr. Murdoch’s ability to control their content. But it has not been clear whether the editorial integrity pact negotiated weeks ago by Dow Jones and News Corporation will meet with the family’s approval."
If the deal goes through, this can only increase the roll of bloggers in the business community. Still, it is bad news for those who hope to see corporations become more responsible members of the world community. Fox will become one of if not the biggest business media players and with Murdock's right-diving (as compared to right-leaning) perspective, this will be bad for hopes that business will function responsibly in dealing with humanity.