How Murdoch Wooed The Journal, and Zannino’s Role

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imageMichael Wolff’s much anticipated book about Rupert Murdoch, which comes out tomorrow, is all the rage on this media Monday, and is at least something to help distract us from the depressing news all around us. Reviews are coming in fast, and most have their own judgments about Murdoch, not so much about the book.

Our parent Guardian is the only one to run an extract (outside of Vanity Fair’s long extract this month) of the book, and this one is about the time when Rupert met then-Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) CEO Rich Zannino, when the wooing began. Some doubts will always be cast on Zannino’s role in this. As former CEO Peter Kann asks in the book: “Why the f_ _k was Rich going for breakfast with Murdoch?”

From the extract: Murdoch: “I was thinking I’d take the offer directly to the board. I know the family feels that way. I’ve called [Michael] Elefante in the past. He won’t even take a number. The number I’m thinking of is … 60.” Zannino: (internally) Holy s_ _ t! (externally) Silence.

For a official version of how these meetings went down, read the old SEC filing, which we pointed out here last year.

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digital bear

Kann was asleep for the last two decades, surprising to hear he knew what Rich was doing. Wolf should have said that "Kann's wife, Karen House, ran a stasi-like intelligence operation against Rich while her husband wandered around trying to figure out a "strategy"

As for Zannino, he should have approached Murdoch and was lucky Murdoch called when he did!

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