We suggested in yesterday's Epaper (6/11/07 TVBR #113) that apart from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the only other potential buyer who could justify paying a premium price for Dow Jones & Co. would be GE's NBC Universal. Sure enough, both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that NBC and Microsoft, its partner in MSNBC, looked at making a bid, but decided the price was too high.
According to the Times, NBC Uni approached Microsoft about a joint bid when the Murdoch bid of 60 bucks a share was disclosed in late May. But trying to top the five billion opening bid proved to be daunting. The two companies just couldn't figure out how to justify that price tag.
SmartMedia observation: This is exactly why Murdoch started with the 60 bucks a share offer – a premium that will keep many media companies from even kicking the tires and drive away most serious contenders. The value of Dow Jones to both NBC and Microsoft is obvious – locking down the name and content for NBC-owned CNBC and providing content for their successful jointly owned website, MSNBC.com, not to mention the potential of producing some worthwhile content for the other part of the NBC-Microsoft joint venture, the MSNBC cable network, which could certainly use some. Even if Murdoch does win the bidding for Dow Jones, CNBC still has an exclusive deal to get content from the Wall Street Journal through 2012, so News Corporation wouldn't immediately be able to tap that source for its start-up Fox Business Channel.