Writing for CNNMoney, Paul R. La Monica has deemed the ongoing three-way between Rupert Murdoch, the Bancroft family and whatever competitor officially, maybe becomes the Player To Be Named Later, "The lamest bidding war ever." Sigh. We know. Nevertheless, every little aspect of it deserves our loving attention.
Here's big news! Rupert Murdoch has a friend that he talks to and stuff! His name is Robert Thomson, and he's more than just a thin excuse for the Sopranos-besotted press to take the word "consigliere" out for a spin--he's the editor of Rupe's Times of London and a trusted advisor who's been assisting Murdoch with "strategy." Most importantly, he's been a staunch advocate of the idea that Murdoch can be trusted to maintain the Wall Street Journal's editorial independence:
Mr. Thomson has stated publicly that Mr. Murdoch doesn't interfere in editorial matters at the Times. When James H. Ottaway Jr., whose family controls about 5% of Dow Jones's shareholder voting power, criticized Mr. Murdoch for what he described as censoring China coverage to protect business interests, it was Mr. Thomson who personally responded in an email and invited Mr. Ottaway to visit the Times's newsroom.
Thomson and Murdoch even share a birthday (March 11), and every year, they buy one another a new Best Friends Shareable Heart pendant.ELSEWHERE:
- The Bancrofts make the next move by sending Murdoch a "revised set of proposals for a special board to safeguard The Wall Street Journal's editorial independence." If the Bancrofts are so willing to set benchmarks for their eventual withdrawal, could we pretty please hire them to be our War Czar?
- The Miami Herald's Ed Wasserman says: "...Rupert Murdoch's move to take over Dow Jones...has done little more than raise a few eyebrows. With some brave exceptions -- Tim Rutten at the Los Angeles Times and Jack Shafer at Slate among them -- most commentators say Murdoch is a canny old bird who won't do too much harm..." Really? Has he been reading the same press as us?
- What's the outlook on Brian Tierney's countering bid for Dow Jones? Not good, says the Washington Post: "When Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News publisher Brian Tierney confirmed yesterday that he is interested in bidding for the Wall Street Journal and parent company Dow Jones, newsroom reaction ranged from disbelief to outright sarcasm."
- Coulda been a contender? After being outed as a potential suitor (with Microsoft) for Dow Jones, NBC Universal is still mulling the possibility of getting into the fray as a solo act. If nothing else, we hope this provides a vein of mineable comedy for the team at 30 Rock.