23 July 2007

Dow Jones & Murdoch

Since I last mentioned the subject, Rupert Murdoch has taken a big step further toward control of Dow Jones, and with that control of one of my favorite newspapers, the Wall Street Journal.

On July 17, the board of directors of Dow Jones voted to approve a merger at the amount Murdoch has been, $5 billion.

Much of that money would go to the members of the Bancroft family, but some of them still seem hesitant to take it. Perhaps because they feel that by holding out they can get more. Or, just perhaps, due to a sort of status anxiety. When they sell, they'll be just another wealthy family. Until they sell, they're the family with a controlling stake in Dow Jones, which sounds cooler.

Apparently, Burkle (a friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton who appeared for a time willing to compete with Murdoch in an auction) has withdrawn from the picture. But Brad Greenspan still has aspirations.

Or, insead of aspirations, one might want to say "delusions of grandeur." There's little that indicates that he could pull off a coup here. Murdoch will get the prize, though he might yet have to increase the price a bit.

Recently, the WSJ has made cutbacks that I thought ill advised, even a curtailment in the literal size of the papers used for each page. They're in trouble, and it seems clear they're not in a position to remain independent.

Life is tough, and in an internet-dominated world, consolidation among the pulp-and-ink papers that remain is a fact. As the kids say: Deal.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.