Rupert Murdoch Bids $5B To Buy Dow Jones

Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said Tuesday it has received an unsolicited bid from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to buy the company for $60 per share, or $5 billion.

Shares of the financial news publishing company soared after the cable news channel CNBC reported news of the offer earlier Tuesday.

After opening at $37.12, the shares jumped $20.95, or 58 percent, to $57.28 before being halted on the New York Stock Exchange for news pending. They had traded in a 52-week range of $32.16 to $40.08 before Tuesday's news.

Dow Jones said in a brief statement that its board had received the proposal from News Corp. to buy the company with either cash or a combination of cash and News Corp. stock.

Dow Jones is controlled by the Bancroft family through a special class of shares and cannot be taken over without their consent. The company said in its statement that its board and members of the Bancroft family were evaluating the proposal, and that there was no assurance it would lead to a transaction.

Spokesmen for Dow Jones, News Corp. and the Bancroft family did not immediately return calls seeking additional comment.

Like other newspaper publishers, Dow Jones' shares have been beaten down over the past few years amid sluggish advertising and as more readers and advertising dollars move to the Internet.

But Dow Jones' Wall Street Journal has done better than most newspapers, reports MarketWatch, also owned by Dow Jones.

"An acquisition of Dow Jones would give (News Corp.) access to a strong, specialized newspaper brand with one of the only two successful paid online models in the newspaper industry," MarketWatch reported.

News Corp., owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, owns the New York Post newspaper, Fox Television, MySpace, and 20th Century Fox, among other companies.