Read It Here First: Murdoch, Ink

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A few weeks ago, we asked: Are Murdoch’s WSJ changes creating an opening for NYT, FT?

By coincidence, Newsweek ran a similar article a day or so later, titled Murdoch, Ink (it looks like it was in the works for a while, so I am not accusing anyone of plagiarism or even inspiration). It raised many of the same issues of the de-financialization of the WSJ’s coverage.

The most interesting aspect of that Newsweek piece was the floated possibility of a realistic buyer for the NYT: Michael Bloomberg:

"But the loudest chatter is about Bloomberg, whose fortune—based on his stake in financial-information giant Bloomberg LP—Forbes magazine pegs at $11.6 billion. In a farewell column in January marking his retirement, Journal managing editor Paul Steiger touted the possibility of a friendly Bloomberg-Times merger. In NEWSWEEK interviews last week, a member of Bloomberg’s inner circle confirmed that the mayor’s confidants and closest associates are, in fact, encouraging him to explore the idea. The Bloomberg source wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the matter and, as a result, insisted on anonymity. Through a spokesman, Bloomberg declined to comment. According to the source, the proponents of the merger are appealing to the mayor’s sense of "civic-mindedness," arguing that he is best suited to take the publishing company private to "help protect the brand" in the wake of relentless shareholder assaults. "It is clearly a brand that Bloomberg could help preserve and that he cares about immensely … and could pay a competitive price" for, says this person.

Murdoch, for one, sees a natural fit between Bloomberg and the Journal’s uptown rival. Bloomberg, he notes, has pledged to remain a force in national public life after leaving New York’s city hall at the end of next year. To that end, owning the Times would help immensely, Murdoch reasons. Yet the prospect of competing against a Bloomberg-owned Times appears to rattle him. "I wouldn’t look forward to going up against him," Murdoch told NEWSWEEK, citing his "great respect for Bloomberg’s business abilities."

Rather fascinating. That would make a hell of a combination . . . 

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Previously:
Murdoch’s WSJ Changes Creates Opening for NYT, FT   Apr 24, 2008 http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/04/murdochs-wsj-cr.html

Source:
Murdoch, Ink.   
Johnnie L. Roberts
NEWSWEEK, Apr 28, 2008 Issue
http://www.newsweek.com/id/132852

Related:
What’s an Investor to Do if a Star Firm Stumbles?
GERALDINE FABRIKANT
NYT, May 4, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/business/04sherm.html

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Andrew commented on May 6

    Funny, I read this here first yesterday.

    :)

  2. B.B. commented on May 6

    BR,

    Rehasing his own blog posts… now you know he must be busy. :)

    BTW, anyone else notice ‘Big Picture” RSS not updating on Yahoo? The rest of mine are, just not BP’s.

    ~~~
    BR: I moved it from yesterday to today

  3. John Borchers commented on May 6

    Since this is a duplicate does anyone else feel like choking Don Luzkin or is it just me?

  4. Winston Munn commented on May 6

    No merger! We cannot afford any more businesses that are too big to fail.

  5. B.B. commented on May 6

    John b.

    I’ll watch the door while you take care of Don. Can anyone be more abnoxious? Oh, thats right they have Dennis Kneale on that channel too.

  6. John Borchers commented on May 6

    I wish nothing more than seeing Don’s fund lose all it’s money when the market surprising goes against him and many others.

    He is the most cocky of them all and so smug.

  7. Eric commented on May 6

    Choking Luskin with Cramer’s entrails would be efficient, enjoyable and therapeutic (not that I condone violence).

  8. Sully commented on May 7

    The Economist should step into that market space with a new publication. They have a golden reputation these days. Something a la Portfolio.

  9. anonymiss commented on May 7

    So, we’d end up with a newspaper (NYT) whose news pages are non-partisan, high credibility, and (ideally) covering all issues turn into a newspaper whose news pages are non-partisan high credibility but focused only on business and issues of interest to a business audience. Odds are also that the NYT’s op-ed page would turn far more right-leaning.

    At the same time, a business newspaper with non-partisan high credibility news pages would turn into a right-wing newspaper. While the stories themselves might remain straight, the editorial choices of which stories are worthy of coverage would undoubtedly be skewed to support Murdoch’s right-wing partisan agenda (this is already happening). The op-ed pages would remain extremely right-wing, and perhaps become even further unhinged from reality.

    All in all, this is very bad news for media.

  10. Larry commented on May 7

    That’s not a bad idea, especially if Bloomberg can make the NY Times move faster to the web. Also, Bloomberg can use the NY Times brand in arts, culture and international reporting.

  11. Anonymouse commented on May 8

    As as former BB news employee, I think that would be semi-catastrophic. People in finance tend to have a foreshortened view of Mike and BB in general. Mike’s genius was in building a cash cow by anticipating a major opportunity in the bond markets, capitalizing on that opportunity then building a moat around it. In essence he’s a very aggressive, very shrewd monopolist. The core of the company has always been sales, followed by analytics, with news as the red headed step child often pressed into service of the other two favored children. Viz.. the CEO interviews that always seemed to include visits with the sales staff, the emphasis on making the news room look high tech rather than functional.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I love Mike and I respect his ‘rules’ about emphasizing hard news and avoiding sensationalist or celebrity driven stories, but his interest and investment in news can be measured by the man he put in charge. I won’t libel him personally, but the comments from other BN alumni are easily googled and uniformly harsh, centering around complaints of holding stories back well past their expiry date, emphasis on ‘me-too’ stories to match competitors rather than breaking new stories, formulaic writing style and ‘ahem’ interpersonal issues.
    http://gawker.com/5003428/the-other-reason-mayor-mike-couldnt-run
    http://gawker.com/5002235/the-enemy-is-the-human

    The idea of BB pushing the Times on the web is even more laughable, especially since the ‘internet’ was looked at as a fad by upper management and used as a dumping ground for ineffective managers.

  12. dave54 commented on May 8

    HEADS-UP WASHINGTON POST: In Section ‘A’ of today’s THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (5/8/08) I counted 17 [!] articles about national politics…

    1) Democrats look to life after Clinton
    2) Fund race: Obama Outflanks ‘Hillraisers’
    3) Hope Arises for Housing-Bill Deal
    4) Willing to Buck Traditions, Pelosi Rules the House
    5) Keeping Families Above Water (David Wessel – Opinion)
    6) Lawmakers Make Strides on Farm Measure
    7) White House May Soften Health Policy
    8) Campaigns Throw Out Traditional Political Map
    9) Clinton Gas-Tax Proposal Gives Her Little Political Milage
    10) Obama’s Showing Reshapes Dispute Over Delegates
    11) Clinton Losing Grip On Catholic Voters
    12) McCain Is Cool, Collected On Hot-Temper Question
    13) Obama vs. McCain: Let’s Get It On (Opinion)
    14) In Defense of RINO Hunting (Republican politics – Opinion)
    15) The Judicial Stakes (Opinion)
    16) We’ll Plan, if You Let Us Know (Federal Budget – Letter)
    17) It’s Obama, Warts and All (Karl Rove – Opinion)

  13. dave54 commented on May 8

    In Section ‘A’ of today’s THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    I (now) count 25 articles on politics & policy…

    1) Democrats look to life after Clinton
    2) Fund race: Obama Outflanks ‘Hillraisers’
    3) Hope Arises for Housing-Bill Deal
    4) Willing to Buck Traditions, Pelosi Rules the House
    5) Home-Appraisal Code May End Up in Court
    6) Pyongyang “May” Provide Nuclear-Reactor
    7) Keeping Families Above Water (Adovacy)
    8) Lawmakers Make Strides on Farm Measure
    9) White House May Soften Health Policy
    10) Campaigns Throw Out Traditional Political Map
    11) Clinton Gas-Tax Proposal Gives Her Little Political Milage
    12) Obama’s Showing Reshapes Dispute Over Delegates
    13) Clinton Losing Grip On Catholic Voters
    14) McCain Is Cool, Collected On Hot-Temper Question
    15) Vetoing the Verifiers (Opinion)
    16) Obama vs. McCain: Let’s Get It On (Opinion)
    17) In Defense of RINO Hunting (Opinion)
    18) The Judicial Stakes (Opinion)
    19) No Easy Answers for the Disabled (Letter)
    20) We’ll Plan, if You Let Us Know (Opinion)
    21 How Will a Windfall Profits Tax Increase Supply? (Letter)
    22) ‘Hooking-Up’ as a Symbol of Cultural Dysfunction (Letter)
    23) Follies for Schools (Letter)
    24) It’s Obama, Warts and All (Opinion)
    25) Bush’s North Korea Nuclear Abdication (Opinion)

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