Murdoch Would Bolster WSJ’s Digital Presence

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The letter has it all – bold print, bullet points, and italics.  It’s 1,200 words long.  And it’s signed by billionaire Rupert Murdoch.  That’s right – Murdoch’s most recent communication regarding a Dow Jones takeover has been published by The Wall Street Journal, a Dow Jones property.

Which may not have been what the billionaire intended.  “We are disappointed, as I imagine you are, that the details of our proposal and the discussion of the merits of a potential combination have become a matter of public debate,” he wrote to the Bancroft family (which owns Dow Jones).  Yet the letter was unfailingly courteous, and modesty ruled the day.

Murdoch did, however, hint at the ways in which News Corp. could help Dow Jones.  “Dow Jones is already a leader in content and digital media with three of the world’s leading paid-subscriber financial news sites,” he admitted, but, “We would enthusiastically build upon this success by leveraging the scale we have built in digital media.”

One almost wonders if Murdoch is thinking about MySpace; it and the Wall Street Journal probably don’t share many fans, and given MySpace News’s poor performance, there’s likely more potential there for harm than good.  Still, Murdoch seemed ever-mindful of not embarrassing the Bancroft family.

“Maintaining the heritage of independence and journalistic integrity of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones’ other publications would be of utmost importance to me and to News Corporation,” the billionaire stated.

Murdoch also addressed concerns about freedom of speech and China – though not at the same time – saying that he would “[i]ncrease funding and support for the Dow Jones Foundation to continue to promote journalism standards and press freedom around the world,” and “[e]xpand where appropriate Dow Jones’ editorial presence in emerging Asian markets, including India and China.”

Heh.  Google and Yahoo surely wish him luck with balancing those goals.

In any event, Murdoch’s “conversation” with the Bancroft family has been (to all appearances) completely one-sided.  But with a rumored $5 billion offer on the table, an acquisition doesn’t seem impossible.


Murdoch Would Bolster WSJ’s Digital Presence
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