News Corp. has made an unsolicited offered to acquire Dow Jones at $60 per share …. CNBC, which has a relationship with DJ, first reported the bid, sending shares soaring more than $20 to $57.28 until trading was halted pending news. Trading reopened a little after noon.
Murdoch has had a long-standing interest in acquiring the Wall Street Journal and its parent company Dow Jones. Standing in his way: the two-class voting setup with the Bancroft family holding control. News Corp.’s plans for a Fox Business Channel to compete with CNBC make the acquisition, which has been under discussion at News Corp. over a number of years, even more appealing. Murdoch also may have some idea that the Bancrofts may be willing to sell despite statements to the contrary. The initial offer was at a more than 50 percent premium, totaling about $5 billion. According to CNBC, the offer was made by letter two weeks ago. [Update:A Bankcroft rep has told the board a majority of shares will be voted against the deal.)
Dow Jones’ official response (via WSJ): “Dow Jones & Company today confirmed that its Board of Directors has received an unsolicited proposal from News Corporation to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Dow Jones common stock and Class B common stock for $60.00 per share in cash, or in a combination of cash and News Corporation securities. The Board of Directors and members and trustees of the Bancroft family, who hold shares representing a majority of the Company’s voting power, are evaluating the proposal. There can be no assurance that this evaluation will lead to any transaction.”
WSJ: “The offer could set off a bidding war for Dow Jones, owner of one of the most storied franchises in American newspapers. Possible rival suitors include the Washington Post Co., the New York Times Co. and possibly even Bloomberg LP.”