Rupert Murdoch Suddenly Looks Very Smart Again

So, the Bancrofts are willing to sell

off the family silver after all. But their official

statement is hilarious:

As we have been since 1902, the Bancroft family remains resolute in its commitment

to preserve and protect the editorial independence and integrity of The Wall

Street Journal…

After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive

environment in which it operates, the family has reached consensus that the

mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration

with another organization, which may include News Corporation.

"Resolute in its commitment"? As Inigo Montoya might say,

"I do not think that word means what you think it means". Or, as Withnail

might say, "that represents a level of hypocrisy that I’d previously suspected,

but not noticed due to highly evasive skills".

I was a fan of the Murdoch bid from the beginning, but lost heart a week ago,

when the News Corp chairman was economical

with the truth in an interview with the FT. I do think, however, that the

Journal will ultimately be a greater and more successful newspaper under Murdoch

than it would be if it continued to be run by a series of incompetent

Dow Jones managers.

The Bancrofts are clearly still holding out some hope for a white knight who

can come along and save them from having to sell to Rupert. And $5 billion is

a low enough price that I’m sure there’s a billionaire or two out there who

might be tempted. But billionaires tend not to be the hands-off type, which

is exactly the sort of person the Bancrofts are looking for. Warren Buffett

would be perfect, but he’s not going to bid. Which means there’s now a very

good chance that Murdoch will end up with his glorious prize.

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