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NBC, Microsoft were also interested in Dow Jones RRS feed

  • Question

  • General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal and Microsoft Corp. explored a competing bid for Dow Jones & Co., but the idea was dropped about a week ago, people familiar with the discussion said on Monday.

    Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is offering $60 per share, or $5 billion, for Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones, as the company aims to build a business cable news channel that would compete with NBC's profitable CNBC outlet.

    GE and Microsoft discussed matching News Corp.'s bid, according to a report in the Journal, which cited people briefed on the discussions.

    "The conversations with Microsoft were exploratory conversations that ended over a week ago," an NBC Universal spokesman said. NBC is continually evaluating potential strategic acquisitions, the spokesman said.

    Sources familiar with the situation described the talks as a very preliminary look at Dow Jones because the company, controlled by the Bancroft family, might come into play. NBC and Microsoft were partners in forming cable news channel MSNBC.

    "The economics did not make sense," said GE spokesman Russell Wilkerson of the NBC and Microsoft talks.

    The Bancrofts initially opposed Murdoch's bid, but have since held talks with the media mogul and said they would explore other possibilities. Dow Jones' employee union is openly soliciting rival bids from U.S. billionaires who have expressed an interest in media assets.

    Dow Jones' union has said it was trying to drum up interest from six to 10 potential suitors. But GE was not one of the parties contacted, according to Steven Yount, president of the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees.
    Tuesday, June 12, 2007 11:02 AM

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