The UK magazine The Business reported on its website Friday that negotiators for the board of Dow Jones & Company had accepted the five billion bucks offer from News Corporation. But that brought a quick denial from Dow Jones, which issued this statement: "An article published on Thebusinessonline.com this morning stating that an agreement in principle has been reached for the sale of Dow Jones & Company to News Corp is incorrect."
Since Murdoch's 60 bucks per share offer became public in May (5/2/07 RBR #86), News Corporation's negotiations with the Dow Jones and the controlling Bancroft family have focused primarily on editorial integrity for the Wall Street Journal rather than price. These negotiations recently produced an agreement that will provide some oversight from an independent board, but still leave News Corporation with the ability to hire and fire top editors.
Even so, no final deal has been struck to accept a buyout. And any agreement between News Corporation and the Dow Jones board will still have to go to the Bancrofts for a final OK.
SmartMedia observation: Despite efforts by the union for some Dow Jones employees to stir up another bidder – anyone but Murdoch – there has been only talk and no actual bidding. The 60 bucks offer was a 67% premium to where Dow Jones' stock had been and Murdoch's attempt to keep all others away by submitting a bid that no one would dare to match appears to have succeeded.