GE, Microsoft Look To Out-Murdoch News Corp
News Corp.’s bid to buy Dow Jones, and by default, the most influential financial newspaper in the world, the Wall Street Journal, seems to have spooked media rival General Electric into making a bid for the company as well.
Both GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt and a spokesman have downplayed the news, with the spinman calling the exchange with the Bancroft family "exploratory conversations" that turned up fruitless, and Immelt denying that print media was anything that would be on GE’s radar.
However, before these words there was, according to the Wall Street Journal itself, a joint bid by GE and Microsoft for the company aimed at outspending Rupert Murdoch’s $60-per-share ($5 billion) offer.
Though GE and company (which includes Fox-competitor NBC Universal) are acting cool about it, WSJ’s Sarah Ellison and Dennis Berman make a convincing case that a News Corp.-buyout was troublesome to company.
GE’s own CNBC financial news network gets its information directly from the paper. A major network competitor buying up that source would spell trouble for the network.
Interestingly, GE it seems wasn’t comfortable shelling out that kind of green for Dow Jones alone, which is why the company enlisted its old partner Microsoft.
It really speaks to the disruptive clout of News Corp. that a bid to buy out a major publication prompted two other mega-corporations to put their heads together to try and stop it. What’s more, it swirls up a whole new set of concerns if GE and Microsoft swallowed up Dow Jones.