Former Analyst Fine Questions Murdoch’s ‘Addiction To Newspapers’

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By: Joe Strupp

Lauren Rich Fine, the respected former managing director at Merrill Lynch who was among the industry’s top newspaper analysts, has taken a clear shot at Rupert Murdoch’s latest efforts to reshape The Wall Street Journal and buy Newsday.

In a column posted at, Fine questioned whether Murdoch was “addicted to newspapers” and “addicted to power.”

Fine, now a practitioner in residence at Kent State University?s College of Communication and Information, stated that one has to wonder “if his plans for the WSJ are really in the interest of his shareholders. It is less than clear that there will be a great return, both based on what was paid as well as the due to the long-term prospects for the industry.”

She later stated: “If I were a [News Corp.] shareholder, I would be angry. The average [News Corp.] shareholder doesn?t own it for its newspapers; in fact, they likely own it despite the newspapers. They own it for the promise of digital and other [News Corp.] businesses. Newsday wouldn?t appear to further the digital interests, the area in which the WSJ competes online is crowded. So, perhaps, it is all personal in the end.”

The entire column can be found at:

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