Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Dow Jones' stock this morning surged $20.86, or 57 percent, to $57.19 on a televised news report that News Corp. made an unsolicited $60 a share cash bid for the Wall Street Journal publisher. Trading has now been halted in the stock pending an announcement by Dow Jones (and no WSJ post on it yet! but see a brief news report here). I'll spare you the jokes on N.Y. Post/Wall Street Journal synergies.
News Corp., controlled by Murdoch, can't launch a full hostile here because, according to Dow Jones' latest proxy, the Bancroft family controls 62% of the company's voting stock (through a dual-class stock scheme that has gotten the N.Y. Times into so much trouble). The deal, if agreed to by the Bancroft family and completed, would mark the latest in a national newspaper consolidation/acquisition wave which began in 2005 with the sale of Knight-Ridder (according to the WSJ here) and was recently marked by the agreed purchase of the Tribune Co. by Sam Zell (well actually Tribune Co.'s Employee Stock Option Fund and Sam Zell in a nice tax-dodge strategy).
Given the topicality, I'll post more later today or tomorrow on the powerful antitakeover effect of dual-class stock.
Further Update: The Bancroft family is coming out against the proposal according to another release today by Dow Jones.