Rupert Wins Wall St Journal Bid

At last there seems to be a winner in the race for the Wall St Journal.  The Bancroft family went for a deal that valued the group at ($5b) double the previous cap before the bid.

It has been a long and convoluted story* but should get even more interesting now and is still one to watch. I agree with Jon Fine on this one

“Since there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth everywhere, let me say this outright: Rupert Murdoch buying Dow Jones is the best possible available scenario.”

I think this could be the best convergence play in media futures so far and Murdoch seems to have all the planets lined up in a new and exciting way.

As the NY Times suggests in Murdoch Wanted Dow Jones More

owning a pivot point in financial news will create some tidy synergies — content for a new Fox business channel to compete with CNBC on cable television, a global foothold for financial data, coverage of all of his competitors in The Journal.

(Note to other media moguls keeping track at home: Mr. Murdoch just bought the scorecard.)

His ownership of The New York Post (twice) is an artistic success, but suggests that his love of American print is just that — irrational, driven by an attraction for the kind of power print conveys, and only made possible through his success on other platforms.

*The story last week from CJR What the Bancrofts Owe Dow Jones

“If this were a movie, only the Marx Brothers could do it justice. Margaret Dumont would play one of the Bancrofts. Groucho would play Michael Elefante, Bancroft family lawyer/Bancroft trustee/Dow Jones director, or, as I like to call him, Dow Jones’s everything bagel. Harpo would play Dow Jones CEO Rich Zannino.”

This open letter / story from Business week offers a good summary of what comes next

Dear Rupert:

You’ve just won one of the best-known brands in journalism. Congratulations. But as you know, it’s a company that needs work. I mean, what a mess, where does one start?

Circulation at the flagship Wall Street Journal has been slipping for ages, and is off by 3% so far this year. Ads are also in the dumps, down 4.2% from a year ago. But the company’s online properties are going gangbusters, with both WSJ.com and Barron’s Online usage up in double digits…..continues

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Could regulation stop the deal? FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps seems to think so as reported in Ad Age.

“It’s interesting to hear the ‘experts’ claim the transaction faces no regulatory hurdles,” FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps said in a statement. “Not so fast!”