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Murdoch reaches deal for Wall Street Journal

Tue., July 17, 2007

NEW YORK – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has reached a tentative agreement to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., the Journal reported on its Web site late Monday.

The deal is for the original $5 billion price that Murdoch had offered and will be put to the full Dow Jones board today for its approval, the Journal said, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation.

The deal would still need approval from Dow Jones’ controlling shareholders, the Bancroft family, which has been divided on a sale to News Corp. because of concerns over whether the Journal would maintain its editorial independence.

Michael B. Elefante, the Bancroft family’s lead trustee, has scheduled a meeting for Thursday to present the agreement to the family and is expected to give the family members several days to make a decision, the Journal reported.

Representatives of Dow Jones and News Corp. did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

Negotiators from the two companies reached the agreement in principle Monday, the Journal said.

Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman, resisted pressure from Dow Jones to raise his initial $60-a-share offer, which represented a premium of about 65 percent over the mid-$30s level that Dow Jones stock was trading at before the proposal became public in early May.

Dow Jones shares fell 54 cents to $56.95 Monday.

Murdoch has long wanted to own the Journal, which has tremendous clout in the business world and wins many prizes for editorial excellence. Murdoch has said he would invest in the Journal’s online and overseas operations, and tap its resources to help build a business-themed cable news channel to rival General Electric Co.’s CNBC network.


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