As reported today at nytimes.com, News Corporation has made a premium offer of US$60 per share for all outstanding shares of Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
The acquisition of Dow Jones would broaden the reach of News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, into business reporting and American media in general. The Journal has the second biggest circulation of any American newspaper, more than two million, behind USA Today. In addition, Dow Jones owns a widely circulated newswire service, other business news outlets like Barron’s and the MarketWatch Web site. The company had $1.78 billion in revenue last year.
The Times says the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones, is considering the offer.
It also says Murdoch’s move may be well-timed:
He has put out feelers in the past but determined that the Bancrofts were not interested in selling. This time, in offering such a large premium for the company, Mr. Murdoch may be trying to present the board with an offer it cannot resist. Like shares of other publishing companies, the stock of Dow Jones has slumped as readers and advertisers have migrated to the Internet, hampering the company’s ability to grow.
Trading in DJ shares rose 58% this morning to nearly US$58 on the NYSE. After a short trading halt, trading resumed at around US$54.