The stakes are raised

01May07

Is the News Corp. (NWS) $60 unsolicited takeover offer for the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones (DJ) a bid to buy the proverbial pot? That $60 will represent a high hurdle for any follow-on bidders. Martin Peers at the WSJ.com has the state of the story with some background on Rupert Murdoch’s career. Eric Savitz at Tech Trader Daily weighs in as well.

Zero Beta asks a pointed question. Is this news a sign of a market top? Given that this market era may best described as a financial one, then wouldn’t the acquisition of the premier financial media organization at a significant premium be indicative of the end?

…most bubbles have one big deal that signals the top. The Tech Boom was identified by Time Warner’s acquisition of AOL. […] symbolically I believe it is a sign of our Financial Liquidity Bubble.

Howard Lindzon thinks this is an indication that “old media” is not dead. However, investors bidding up the newspaper stocks are going should be wary. By any standard the WSJ is a unique property. The large newspaper companies are not. MarketBeat looks the so-called “Murdoch effect” on the stocks.

Ultimately the Bancroft family will have the final say on the deal. Paul Kedrosky points us to a background item on the family. DealBook notes some cracks in the family’s previously united front against any deal. Others may have a say as well.  Felix Salmon wonders if the Journal’s unions have any sort of say in the deal.

Scott Rothbort thinks the move is a “genius” one by Rupert Murdoch. We would tend to agree with Rothbort. A $60 bid is high enough to quickly force the hand of any number of potential players. This includes the Bancroft family, General Electric (GE) the owners of CNBC, Bloomberg LP, and even Warren Buffett an oft-rumored buyer of Dow Jones. In short, we will quickly learn who is a player in this high stakes game, and who is not.

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