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Dow Jones draws suitors

Philadelphia Inquirer owner may bid for co.

After weeks of waiting, other bidders have begun to dip their toes into the Dow Jones waters.

The union head who has been trying to find competing bids for the company acknowledged Thursday that at least two bidders — an Internet mogul and a group of Wall Street investors — have stepped forward.

While the union leader, Steve Yount of IAPE 1096, declined to identify the potential bidders, he said the Internet mogul was not a name with which he was familiar– but then added that he was not familiar with many Internet billionaires.

Neither name was on a shortlist of less than a dozen prospective suitors Yount had earlier submitted to Ownership Associates, the consultancy helping to find alternative bidders on behalf of IAPE 1096, which reps more than 2,000 Dow Jones employees.

Asked if the union would prefer an investor without media experience to News Corp., Yount said that “any billionaire has some kind of baggage. (But) we know the track record of News Corp. and we don’t think that’s in the best interest of the company.” He vowed to “evaluate and do our due diligence on” other bidders.

Earlier in the day, Philadelphia Inquirer owner Brian Tierney had also indicated a desire to make a bid for the parent company of the Wall Street Journal.

Tierney, who last year led a group that bought the former Knight Ridder paper for more than half a billion dollars, said that he’d pay at least as $5 billion for Dow Jones, the amount that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. offered. “We don’t believe News Corp. is overpaying,” he said in a statement.

The Bancroft family that controls the voting shares in the company is believed to be split on whether to sell, and if so, to whom. They are currently thought to be debating a Murdoch bid after meeting with the mogul earlier this week in Gotham.

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