BREAKING: Murdoch Purchases Wall Street Journal


Rupert Murdoch’s bid for The Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. has won enough support from the company’s controlling shareholders to ensure its acceptance, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Journal said, quoting unnamed people familiar with the situation, that Bancroft family members representing 32 percent of the company’s vote had agreed to the deal. A family spokesman declined to comment.

NPR: Reportedly His First Plan For Manipulating The Journalism Of His New Toy Is To Dial Back The Rightward Tilt Of The Editorial Page So That It At Least Confirms With The Dictates Of Observable Reality. Just Kidding.

EXPLAINER: Rupert Murdoch Purchases Wall Street Journal For Dummies (after the jump)


Early history:

Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser founded what was then called Dow, Jones & Company in 1882 in a basement office on Wall Street. They produce handwritten news updates called “flimsies” that are delivered to subscribers around Wall Street by messenger.

Dow Jones begins compiling an average of 11 stocks — the precursor of the Dow Jones industrial average — in 1884, and publishing it in the “Customers’ Afternoon Letter,” which became The Wall Street Journal in 1889. In 1902 correspondent Clarence Barron buys control of Dow Jones, which will eventually pass to the descendants of his wife’s eldest daughter from a previous marriage, Jane Barron Bancroft.

Key people:

  • Richard Zannino, 48. Became CEO in February 2006, succeeding Peter Kann, having formerly served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer. A former executive in the garment industry, Zannino is the first non-journalist to run Dow Jones.
  • Gordon Crovitz, 48. Publisher of The Wall Street Journal and president of Dow Jones’ consumer media group, which includes the Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch, an online financial news site. A former Rhodes scholar, Crovitz was the founding editorial page editor for the Journal’s European edition and also served as editor of The Far Eastern Economic Review, a Hong Kong-based magazine owned by Dow Jones.

Main Businesses:

  • The Wall Street Journal. Daily circulation of about 2 million, including qualified electronic editions, and, the largest paid newspaper subscription site on the Internet.
  • Barron’s. A weekly financial publication with circulation of about 300,000.
  • Dow Jones Newswires. An electronic financial news service. Most of its revenue comes from the sale of its news service to real-time terminal customers of Bloomberg LP, Thomson Corp. and Reuters Group PLC who choose to pay extra for it.
  • Dow Jones Indexes. Compiles thousands of stock market indicators, including the Dow Jones industrial average.
  • Factiva. A news database with 1.8 million subscribers. Dow Jones bought the other half of Factiva that it didn’t already own from Reuters in late 2006 for $160 million.
  • Ottaway Newspapers. A group of community newspapers Dow Jones acquired in 1970. Former Dow Jones board member Jim Ottaway Jr., who controls about 5 percent of Dow Jones’ shareholder vote, is a vocal opponent to ownership by Murdoch.

Annual revenues (calendar year 2006): $1.78 billion.

Operating income: $104,584.



Key people:

  • Rupert Murdoch, 76. Chairman and CEO of News Corp. Starting with a single newspaper in his native Australia that he inherited from his father, a prominent journalist, Murdoch built News Corp. into a global media conglomerate with newspapers in England, Australia and the United States; the Fox television and entertainment businesses; the MySpace social-networking site and satellite TV in Europe, the United States and Asia.
  • Peter Chernin, 56. News Corp.’s chief operating officer and Murdoch’s No. 2. Widely seen as the immediate heir to Murdoch should he no longer serve as chief of News Corp., though Murdoch has said he wants to keep leadership of the company with his family.
  • James Murdoch, age 34. Seen by many as a likely candidate to eventually succeed his father. Currently CEO of British Sky Broadcasting PLC, a British satellite television operator in which News Corp. owns a minority stake. Accompanied his father, along with other advisers, to the initial meeting with Bancroft family representatives June 4.

Main Businesses:

  • Twentieth Century Fox. A major movie and television studio.
  • Fox broadcast network. Home of “American Idol,” “24,” “The Simpsons” and “House.” News Corp. also owns 35 local TV stations, but has agreed to sell nine of them, mainly in smaller markets.
  • Cable television. Fox News Channel, the top-rated all-news cable network; FX, Speed and several regional sports networks.
  • Satellite television. News Corp. owns all of Sky Italia and significant stakes in British Sky Broadcasting PLC and The DirecTV Group Inc. Liberty Media Corp. has agreed to acquire the DirecTV stake in a swap for a large block of News Corp. stock, which will boost the Murdoch family’s voting stake in News Corp. from 30 percent to about 38 percent.
  • Newspapers. Numerous newspapers in Australia and the United Kingdom, including The Australian; The Times of London; The Sun and News of the World. Only U.S. newspaper is the New York Post.
  • Magazines. The Weekly Standard and about 40 percent of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.
  • Books. HarperCollins, a major U.S. publishing house.
  • Internet. MySpace, the online social hangout; Rotten Tomatoes, a movie review site; IGN, a gaming site; and, a sports site.

Annual revenues (fiscal year ending June 2006): $25.3 billion.

Operating income: $3.87 billion.

Sources: The companies, SEC filings.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *