Blog Post

NWS-DJ: Murdoch’s Take

Rupert Murdoch discussed News Corp.’s $5 billion offer during an interview with Fox Business Now’s Neil Cavuto, who is helping plan the Fox Business News Channel. Cavuto repeatedly described the offer as “generous” and asked Murdoch if it was designed to scare away potential competition. Murdoch’s response: “Well, I hope so. But we feel it’s worth this. This is the greatest newspaper in America, one of the greatest in the world. It has great journalists which deserve, I think, a much wider audience. We feel that with coming both online and offline, there’s a great deal to be done here.” As for private equity, “We are paying, offering a very, very high premium, which I don’t think they could reach. They need to leverage with a lot of interest-bearing notes, and this is already at about 50 times earnings.”

Federal approval: Murdoch said the company doesn’t see any regulatory issues: “There are no laws against this. No laws covering national newspapers, in terms of television stations and overlaps or anything of that sort. You don’t have other major national newspapers, so there’s no monopoly issue.”

Future of newspapers: “… the great thing, and the value of financial journalism and high-quality journalism is that you can charge for it. The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, I think, are the only two newspapers in the whole world that charge for their online editions.”

Business channel: “I think it will help it, of course. There is a deal already with CNBC. But we just want to have a business channel that lives up to the quality and traditions of The Wall Street Journal, and we think that if we can do that, we will do very well.”

Circulation: “We would hope with more resources, expanded coverage of many things, we would see the circulation increasing. But more important is the increasing online, on the web, where people are paying for it, where we would hope we would find millions of people around the world.”

Bancroft family: “… We were hearing last week first that the winds were blowing against us, then we heard they decided to pursue it. … I don’t even know whether the whole family has been consulted yet. But there is plenty of time, and we just take it calmly and hope that they will take it calmly and think about it. It’s a generous offer. We are the sort of people with the same traditions that, I think, would prove great guardians for this paper.”

The video is here. The WSJ has published a transcript (sub. req.)