Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 11 News List

MySpace founder makes new bid for Dow Jones

MATCHING OFFER The proposal includes offering loans to Bancroft family members to buy out others interested in cashing out, thus allowing the family to retain control

AFP , NEW YORK

An Internet entrepreneur who last month bid for a stake in Dow Jones & Co on Friday made a new offer aimed at helping controlling family shareholders find an alternative to an offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The announcement from Brad Greenspan, founder of the MySpace social network Web site, came after Dow Jones's board members accepted Murdoch's NT$5 billion bid that was to be debated by the Bancroft family, which controls a majority voting stake.

Greenspan's revised offer calls for his investment group to provide a loan of between US$400 million and US$600 million to Bancroft family members "to buy out liquidity-seeking family members" at US$60 per share -- matching the Murdoch offer.

This would allow the family to retain control. Greenspan's group "would receive the rights to all value created in the stock above US$60 per share."

recapitalization

The plan also calls for a recapitalization of the company by issuing debt and expanding into a number of online ventures to benefit from the brand name of Dow Jones and its key asset, the Wall Street Journal.

"Our strategy centers around leaving the print publications of Dow Jones intact to continue serving as the gold standard of financial reporting and creating additional earnings streams through digital media initiatives that can produce a stock price above US$100 a share," he said in a statement.

"For too long, Dow Jones has limited its focus to the world of print media and allowed other, less established entities to generate millions of dollars in profits by developing financial reporting franchises on the Internet and cable television," he said.

Greenspan said his investment group would get two board seats and help establish new joint ventures, including a US-based online video network, a financial news TV channel, and video and television operations for Asia, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

"The time has come for Dow Jones to break out of its slumber and extend its dominance into the lucrative arena of digital media," he said.

Last month, Greenspan said he and other investors were bidding for a 25 percent stake in Dow Jones.

Greenspan reportedly held talks with Dow Jones board members along with Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, but no formal proposal emerged from that.

Dow Jones announced early on Wednesday that its board had voted to approve the US$5 billion buyout offer by News Corp.

Despite the board's endorsement, the success of Murdoch's months-long quest for Dow Jones and its prize asset, the Wall Street Journal, remains far from certain.

hostile

The deal requires the approval of the firm's shareholders, including the Bancroft family which owns 64 percent of the voting power of the company.

Some family members are openly hostile to the takeover bid and so far have failed in their efforts to find an alternative.

The Bancroft family is to meet tomorrow to consider the matter.

On Thursday, Dieter von Holtzbrinck, an heir to a German publishing empire, resigned from Dow Jones' board to protest the decision to endorse the News Corp offer, according to a letter released by the Wall Street Journal.

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