Paul Steiger "Conflicted' About Murdoch Getting His 'WSJ'

By: The Wall Street Journal editor who oversaw the newspaper's coverage of Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion takeover said he's "conflicted but hopeful" about the buyout.

Paul Steiger, the newspaper's editor-at-large, said he "just wasn't convinced the acquisition was the worst outcome" for Dow Jones & Co.

Steiger made the remarks during a speech Friday at the Asian American Journalists Association convention in Miami.

The boards of Dow Jones and Murdoch's News Corp. signed off on the agreement early Wednesday, capping the media mogul's three-month pursuit. The deal is expected to close within the next month.

If Dow Jones had turned down Murdoch's bid, the very public offer would have opened the gates to numerous bids and most would have been less favorable that of Murdoch's News Corp., he said.

One early possibility - an acquisition by Pearson PLC and General Electric Co. - would have presented too many conflicts of interest for a business publication, Steiger said.

GE and Pearson abandoned early stage talks about combining Dow Jones with GE's CNBC business news cable channel and Pearson's Financial Times newspaper.

The Journal also would have undergone a "long, uncomfortable period" if the Murdoch offer had been turned down, Steiger said. Given the state of the newspaper industry, the Journal likely would have been forced to undergo major cost-cutting, he said.

News Corp., on the other hand, "has deep pockets" and will allow the Journal to extend its reach in the U.S. and abroad.

Murdoch "has had brilliant success at getting his newspapers read," he said.

News Corp. has indicated it will add four pages to the Journal and step up hiring, Steiger said. The audience laughed when he then pointed out a recruiter sitting in the crowd and spelled out her name for those who wished to contact her.

Steiger, former managing editor and current vice president at Dow Jones Co., declined to comment on the deal beyond what was said in his prepared remarks.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here