Friday, May 11, 2007

A Solution to the Murdoch Bid -- Not

One interesting, and superficially attractive, solution to the Rupert Murdoch bid for Dow Jones & Co. materialized at a forum yesterday at the Investment Company Institute annual meeting.

Here's a portion of the Associated Press account:

The $60 per share offer prices Dow Jones in excess of what it's worth, [Business Week executive editor John] Byrne said Thursday, but he thinks Murdoch will put more money on the table because "another $5 or $10 would break up the family."

That's a reference to Dow Jones' controlling shareholders, the Bancroft family, who oppose Murdoch's bid. "If they want to keep it a family-owned business, they should buy out the public shareholders at Murdoch's price," Byrne said after the panel, held as part of the Investment Company Institute's annual meeting.

Sure, that would keep the company under its current ownership. But to raise that kind of money, Dow Jones would have to go into hock, and possibly cut staff and shred operations. There's quite a history of that in similar situations. Strikes me as a non-solution.

A better idea, which is a tad more in the realm of possibility than it was a week ago, is that the Bancroft family holds firm.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site,

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