Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A sad day for journalism?

So Mr Murdoch has finally got his hands on the Wall Street journal at the cost of $5.6m.

The deal,which looked like it may be wavering yesterday went thru last night after the majority of the Bancroft family agree to sell on the basis of having one of their number on the News International board.

We wait in baited breath to see whether Murdoch agrees to giving the paper its editorial independence or whether he risks devaluing the brand.He is a shrewd business man and I beleive that he will use the title to attack the world hegomony of the Financial Times.

The New York Times reports that

It’s a sad day for journalism,” declared Jason R. Bader, a Wall Street lawyer who picks up The Journal every day on his way to work and said he had been watching the story develop with disdain

But despite the gloom and doom the paper goes onto report

On the business side of Dow Jones, people are happy about the Murdoch deal, said someone with close knowledge of business at Dow Jones. The staff has been frustrated with cost-cutting measures and a lack of growth strategy under chief executive Richard F. Zannino, that person said, and has worried for weeks about what would happen if the deal did not go through

The Washington Post reports

After the takeover, which is predicted to take place by the end of the year, the Journal will join a global media conglomerate that already is second in size to only Time Warner. News Corp., valued at nearly $68 billion, dwarfs Dow Jones, which was worth a little more than $3 billion before Murdoch's bid became public May 1 and sent Dow Jones stock soaring. Murdoch first made the offer March 29.

And interesting comments from Lex in the FT

Where does this leave other newspaper businesses controlled by families with super-voting share structures, such as the New York Times Company? First, the sale of Dow Jones underlines that money talks. The Bancrofts were once able to rely on solid cash flows from Dow Jones to fund their arms-length ownership and protection of its editorial independence. With those cash flows now under threat from seismic shifts in the media industry, a massive premium from News Corp was increasingly likely to outweigh higher principles

We will all wait and see

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