Suitors lining up for Dow Jones


Now that Rupert Murdoch has gotten the Bancrofts to open the door, several potential bidders are lining up for Dow Jones & Co. As of yet, though, nobody has actually offered to write a check topping Murdoch's five billion bucks offer. An unidentified "Internet entrepreneur" is the latest to start doing some tire kicking. He (or she) may join the group being recruited by the union representing about 2,000 Dow Jones employees. So far, the only declared member of that group is supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle. The union has said it is trying to recruit a half dozen or so billionaires who are interested in maintaining the editorial integrity of the Wall Street Journal.

SmartMedia observation: Heck of a business plan. Sounds more like a charity appeal. Should be fun to get those six billionaire egos in the same room to decide which gets to put their name first on the list of partners. Murdoch, of course, expected other potential bidders to come out of the woodwork if he succeeded in getting the Bancrofts to give serious consideration to selling Dow Jones. That's why he kicked off the bidding with a 60 bucks a share offer – a huge premium to where it had been trading and putting a value on Dow Jones well above any of its peers. In our view, there are only two companies who can make the numbers work to pay that sort of price for Dow Jones – Murdoch's News Corp., to have control of the name and content for its new Fox Business Channel, and General Electric, for the same reason, but for NBC Universal's CNBC. Bloomberg doesn't think it needs Dow Jones and Thomson/Reuters are in the midst of their own merger. How anyone else could pay five billion plus and have a plan which would be capable of making the debt payments is hard to fathom.