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NWS-DJ: Pearson Looking For Possible Partner To Challenge News Corp. Bid; Still A ‘Longshot’: WSJ

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Pearson PLC, publisher of FT (the other most expensive daily business newspaper), is trying to pull together a bid for Dow Jones. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Pearson in recent weeks has been trying to recruit partners for a challenge to News Corp.’s $60 per share. Those approached include Hearst and CNBC parent GE. From the WSJ: “So far nothing substantive has materialized, but Pearson is still actively trying to explore a deal, these people added.” No comment from Pearson.

WSJ is right when it says the deal looks good on paper. So good, two sources tell the paper that three years ago the two actually discussed a joint-operating agreement for operations in Europe and Asia.

Bloomberg: Hal Vogel, a New York-based media analyst: “It could be a good combination with the FT. … However, it won’t be easy to raise funds from partners and I’m sure there will be some of the same issues concerning editorial independence.'” Hearst said it won’t comment on speculation.

Bancroft update: Meanwhile, the editorial independence proposal that was to go to Rupert Murdoch this week has been stalled. The NYT says the delay stems from the family’s displeasure with the plan their own lawyers drew up; according to the Journal, family spokesman Roy Winnick disputed that the proposal had been rejected. Either way, it’s not soup yet.

Update: FT is out with its own story reporting that parent Pearson has been in touch with GE for preliminary talks. “GE would be expected to finance a large part of any offer, according to people familiar with the matter.”