It’s getting closer. The skinny is that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has reached an “in principle” deal with negotiators from Dow Jones that would ensure the editorial independence of The Wall Street Journal should News Corporation acquire its parent company.

According to the New York Times, the agreement clears the way for further negotiations on the Dow Jones sale. Premature celebrations, however, should be avoided as “some people close to the talks cautioned that certain details on editorial independence remained to be settled, and said they were even reluctant to call it an agreement yet.”

The Wall Street Journal itself confirms the deal, citing “people familiar with the matter” as its source: “The accord paves the way for the sale of the publisher of The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate for about $5 billion.” notes that the deal still has one major hurdle to overcome: “It remains to be seen if Dow Jones’ controlling shareholders, the Bancroft family, will approve the agreement.”

The core of the agreement, according to CNNMoney, is the make-up of an editorial board that would oversee the Journal. The market has also responded to the in-principle deal: “News of the preliminary pact sent Dow Jones shares up by 2.1% to $58.71.”

The Chicago Tribune highlights the possible cross-media implications a News Corp/Dow Jones merger could have: “Material from Barron’s and Dow Jones Newswires could supply (Murdoch’s) 110 newspapers and a planned Fox Business Channel.”

Running side-by-side with News Corporation’s Dow Jones takeover aspirations, is coverage of Rupert Murdoch’s dealings in China.

The New York Times reports extensively on Murdoch’s Chinese ties, a piece summarised and critiqued by The Gawker. Apart from presenting evidence of Rupert keeping the communist regime’s side of the bed warm, NYT also centres on the pivotal role played by his wife Wendi Deng: “Her role in managing investments and honing elite connections in China has underscored uncertainties within the Murdoch family about how the family-controlled News Corporation will be run after Mr. Murdoch, 76, retires or dies.”

Retires or dies? Which, if either, will come first?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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