News Corp-Dow Jones: It’s All Over Bar The Voting

The ink isn’t dry, but if the news

from CNBC is to be believed, the uncertainty over the future of Dow Jones

is over. After

taking over the negotiations last week, the board of Dow Jones seems to

have come to an agreement with Rupert Murdoch over the biggest sticking point:

the editorial independence of the Wall Street Journal. I’m sure there are lots

of family members who don’t like it, but at this point the writing’s on the


Utterly failing to have any effect on the negotiations was the NYT’s damp squib

of a two-part series on Murdoch, which met with a pitch-perfect

response from News Corp:

“News Corp. has consistently cooperated with The New York Times in

its coverage of the company. However, the agenda for this unprecedented series

is so blatantly designed to further the Times’s commercial self interests

— by undermining a direct competitor poised to become an even more formidable

competitor — that it would be reckless of us to participate in their

malicious assault. Ironically, The Times, by using its news pages to advance

its own corporate business agenda, is doing the precise thing they accuse

us of doing without any evidence.”

It’s still conceivable that a minority of Bancrofts and Ottaways, vacillating

about how they will go down in history, will attempt a rear-guard action to

block the sale of Dow Jones to News Corp. In principle, holders of just 9.1%

of Class B stock could

block a sale, and it might be possible to find that many refuseniks if there

was a concerted campaign. But such a campaign would destroy what little semblance

of family unity there is left, to the benefit of no one.

Which means, I suspect, that there are champagne corks popping at 1211 Sixth

Avenue right around now.

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