Pearson Plc., publisher of the Financial Times,
is seeking partners for a possible bid for Dow Jones
& Co. Inc., owner of The Wall Street Journal.
based in the United Kingdom, has approached media company
Hearst Corp. as well as General Electric Co., which
owns business news channel CNBC, about a possible joint
offer, the Journal reported, citing unnamed people familiar
with the matter.
Jones''s controlling shareholders, the Bancroft family,
are considering a $5 billion buyout bid from Rupert
Murdoch''s News Corp.
Bancroft family met Murdoch earlier this month, but
some members have opposed his bid because they fear
he would not preserve the editorial independence of
Dow Jones''s news operations.
may make an offer from Pearson more attractive to the
Bancrofts, sourcs said.
Pearson is the world''s largest educational publisher.
It publishes school textbooks, the Financial Times
and Les Echos newspapers and general-interest
books at its Penguin unit.
The Financial Times competes with the Wall
Street Journal, although the paper, which has a
stronghold in Europe, has far fewer US readers than
the New York-based Journal.
Another potential bidder for Dow Jones is Brian Tierney,
who led an investor group to buy The Philadelphia
Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News.
Tierney has said he would be interested in working with
partners on a bid.
The company, headed by Texas-born chief executive Marjorie
Scardino, has been particularly active on the acquisition
front recently, although its deals have centered on
strengthening its hand in education publishing businesses.
Murdoch''s News Corp., a vast global media conglomerate
that includes the Fox broadcast network, MySpace, the
New York Post and many newspapers in the U.K. and Australia,
has offered $60 a share for Dow Jones, well above the
mid-$30s range the stock had been trading at before
the offer become public. Many analysts think News Corp.''s
offer is too high to be countered.
Dow Jones'' controlling shareholders, the Bancroft family,
initially rebuffed Murdoch''s approach but then agreed
to meet him to discuss their concerns that the Journal
remain editorially independent.
News Corp. can easily afford the $5 billion price he
has offered for Dow Jones and had more than $7.3 billion
in cash on hand as of end-March.
by contrast, is a far smaller company, with a stock
market value of $13.7 billion. News Corp. has a current
market capitalisation of about $70 billion.