As Pearson pulls out of the race to buy the Wall Street Journal Rupert Murdoch appears to be edging closer to his ambition to own the US daily.
A partnership of General Electric and Pearson Publishing, which owns the rival Financial Times, has announced it is no longer interested in making a bid. There are no other bids on the table.
That means, unless there are some unexpected last minute obstacles, the road is now fairly clear for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to ultimately take over America’s most prestigious financial daily.
In fact, in what may hasten the process, the Dow Jones board, frustrated with the slow pace of the negotiations with its major stock holder, the Bancroft Family, has said it will take over the talks with News Corp Which also suggests that Rupert Murdoch is a step nearer to achieving his ambition of acquiring the WS.J
Journal staff were said to be much happier with the prospect of a GE-Pearson deal rather than the News Corp offer. Some have reportedly compared the choice as ‘trash or slash’.
General Electric, for example, has a reputation for drastic cost-cutting. One senior editor at The Journal was even quoted in the NY Times that if someone put a gun to his head he would take Murdoch over Pearson. Not unexpectedly he asked not to be named.
The tardiness of the Bancroft Family, which owns 64 per cent of the shares in Dow Jones, has also upset some of the staff. They fear that in the end they will be the ones who suffer – despite all the promises that are being made about their jobs and welfare.