wallstreetpost3.jpgThe Bancroft family, who owns a controlling interest in publicly traded Dow Jones & Co., Inc., is considering an unsolicited bid from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to purchase The Wall Street Journal. Trading in Dow Jones shares was halted temporarily after their price jumped 57%, or nearly $21 during the day. Murdoch is reportedly offering $60 a share for the company, which would make the total offer worth approximately $5 billion. The New York Times reported last week that he loses approximately $70 million annually running the NY Post, which seems to confirm our suspicion he secretly swims Scrooge McDuck-style in a huge vault of cash.

As the newspaper industry has recently faltered, with declining print readership and ad sales, many papers have responded by cutting staff and relying on syndicated content. Dow Jones recently decreased the WSJ's physical size in an attempt to save on paper and printing costs, as well as conform to the industry's standard broadsheet size versus the Journal's traditional wider page format, and its recent win of two Pulitzer Prizes for reporting, however, is an indication that the paper remains committed to serious newsgathering.

Unlike most newspapers with online versions, Dow Jones has been successful in getting readers to pay for the Journal's online content via subscription and revenues for the entire company increased just over 6.5%, to $1.8 billion last year. Dow Jones, which showed triple-digit profit growth in its continued businesses for 2006, is based in New York and its history dates back to 1882. The Bancroft family has maintained in the past that owning a newspaper is a public trust and that it involves a stewardship that concerns more than just the bottom line. On the other hand, it is The Wall Street Journal and $5 billion is a lot of money.

Rupert Murdoch owns the New York Post as part of his News Corp. publishing empire. Now, we can't wait for Steve Dunleavy to wander into the Journal's offices, saying, "Welcome to our team, who wants a drink?!"