Some are convinced that Rupert Murdoch’s takover bid for the Wall Street Journal is approaching its end game. Respected British commentator Roy Greenslade is calling it for Murdoch:
Rupert Murdoch is never put off by an initial rebuff when bidding for a company. That’s the major lesson of almost every major acquisition throughout his career, from his earliest days as a putative newspaper mogul in Australia and Britain to his buccaneering entry into the US media market. In the end, he almost always gets what he wants.
His stalking of Dow Jones is therefore assuming a familiar pattern and it suggests to me that he will pull it off, despite the sceptics who have argued otherwise. The turning point, surely, was his “constructive” meeting with the Bancrofts, the extended family that owns 64% of the voting power. Again, experience shows that once Murdoch meets supposedly hard-faced rivals face-to-face and turns on that boyish charm — yes, even at 76 he can do it — then success usually follows.
So the really constructive bit of yesterday’s four-hour meeting was that it happened at all. Some of the Wall Street Journal’s journalists may be hostile, but that won’t trouble Murdoch. Nor, it would appear from the WSJ report of the Murdoch-Bancroft meeting, does the prospect alarm every staff member. The report was noticeably devoid of criticism.”
Read Greenslade’s full commentary here.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reported on the meeting between Bancroft executives, Murdoch and other News executives yesterday. Something of an impasse.
In their first face-to-face meeting, the family that controls Dow Jones & Company yesterday told Rupert Murdoch, a suitor some family members mistrust deeply, that it would sell him the company only if its jewel, The Wall Street Journal, could be shielded from editorial interference from him.
Mr. Murdoch made clear that he would not accept the terms of the Bancroft family’s proposal, which would give a board of independent overseers the power to hire and fire top editors, according to people who were present or were briefed by participants, but, they said, Mr. Murdoch floated an alternate arrangement in the meeting, which lasted almost five hours.
Read the full report here.