Cramer Predicts: Murdoch Will Buy ‘WSJ’ in ’06

By: E&P Staff

While his claim that General Motors will go bankrupt may gain wider attention, how about this bombshell prediction from noted stock analyst James J. Cramer in his current New York magazine column: Rupert Murdoch will buy the Wall Street Journal from Dow Jones. Again going very far out on a limb, Cramer also expects that the newspaper industry will begin to see double-digit declines in both ad revenue and circulation.

Here is his forecast in its entirety:

“In 2006, newspapers will discover what it?s like to be General Motors, if not Bethlehem Steel. That?s because classified and display ads and even inserts will continue to gravitate, en masse, to the Net. The bargain that Google offers is so great to local and national advertisers (far more targeted ads, fewer wasted eyeballs) that I think it will double its share this year (Internet ad spending already makes up 5 percent of all ad dollars). Meanwhile, I believe 2006 will be the year that newspapers begin to see double-digit declines in both ads and circulation. For some, like the New York Times, this just means making less money in 2006 than it did in 2005?nothing new there (and I suspect it will make even less money in 2007 than it does in the coming year).

“But for Dow Jones, in the last years of Peter Kann?s stewardship (he?s retiring), finally enough is enough in the stagnant share-price business, and the Dow board will decide to take Rupert Murdoch?s offer of, say, $50 — some $20 less than he would have offered five years ago. News Corp. will promptly close all but the editorial board and merge the news staff with that of the New York Post (don?t think Rupert doesn?t have it in him). Murdoch will also give a joyful Roger Ailes the staff he needs to set up a full-blown TV-business-network competitor to CNBC.”

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