Rupert Murdoch appears to be at least one step nearer in his bid to buy the Wall Street Journal, America’s number one business daily.
After a four-hour closed-door session – much longer than expected – with members of the Bancroft family that for more than a century has owned Dow Jones, Murdoch emerged saying he was “very encouraged”.
He called the meeting “very constructive”. It was his first face-to-face session since he made his offer.
Originally, Murdoch offered $5,000 million for the company – equivalent to about $60 a share, more than it has traded lately.
Murdoch’s son James, who at the moment runs BSkyB, was also at the meetin, which was described as part-social, part-business. Quite a few lawyers from both sides also attended. Murdoch was described as doing more listening than talking.
One of the sticking points, it’s said, was the use of the Journal’s name on other products – specifically Murdoch’s plan to launch a new TV business channel in the US. Using the Journal’s name would give additional prestige – and clout – to the channel, he said.
If there is one fly in the ointment, it is the reaction of the Journal’s staff to the possible change of ownership. Many have said they will not go along with such a change.