Dow Jones Discloses It Had 21 Suitors — But Only Murdoch Made Real Offer

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

When Dow Jones & Co., looking for a counteroffer to Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion takeover bid, put itself up for sale, some 21 parties kicked its tires — but none proposed a viable deal, the company says.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dow Jones disclosed that its advisors in the auction, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, were in contact with 21 businesses and individuals who expressed an interest in the media giant. None, though, bested News Corp.’s May 1 offer of $60 a share, a premium of some 67% on the stock’s price before Murdoch’s bid became publicly known.

Dow Jones did not identify the suitors by name but referred to several with vague descriptions, including one it said was an “international oil and gas company. On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, said that referred to the Russian company OAO Gazprom.

The filing, a preliminary proxy, does not set a specific for the special shareholder meeting to formally approve the sale, but indicates it will be held in October.

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