'FT' Looking To Enter Joint Bid For Dow Jones

By: E&P Staff One of the many reasons Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy Dow Jones & Co., in the opinion of many observers, is that the flagship Wall Street Journal would give him a big weapon in the competition with the Financial Times.

Now, according to a report Friday, the FT's publishing company is looking to snap up Dow Jones itself.

According to a report on the Journal's Web site, Pearson PLC has for weeks "been trying to recruit partners to pursue a purchase" of Dow Jones. The article, which cited unnamed "people familiar with the matter" was written by Dennis K. Berman and Sarah Ellison, with contributions from Matthew Karnitschnig and Susan Pulliam.

Pearson has approached Hearst Corp. and General Electric Co., according to the Journal. "So far nothing substantive has materialized, but Pearson is still actively trying to explore a deal," the article said.

Dow Jones' controlling family stockholders, the Bancrofts, have been hoping to attract other alternative bidders to the unexpected $5 billion offer from Murdoch's News Corp. last month.

The family has been openly skeptical of Murdoch's assurances that the Journal and other Dow news organizations would remain free of editorial interference under his ownership. (The Journal quoted a family spokesman as saying they were making progress on a proposal for a corporate structure that would protect the Journal's editorial integrity. A report earlier today said the family had "rejected" a draft proposal as too soft on Murdoch, a characterization the spokesman disputed.)

Murdoch's $60-a-share bid, however, is so rich -- a 67% premium on the price Dow Jones traded before word of the bid leaked -- that it may be scaring off other potential buyers.


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