News Corp. in tentative Dow deal

Agreement is for original $5 billion offer price

Rupert Murdoch appeared closer than ever Monday night to landing Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal.

News Corp. looked poised to buy the company after the DJ board agreed to a deal in principle for about $60 per share, or $5 billion, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

But the board is comprised of a mix of members, some of whom are thought to be partial to Murdoch’s generous offer. The trick will be convincing the Bancroft family’s three voting blocs, which collectively control 64% of DJ shares.

Family was scheduled to meet to decide the issue Tuesday.

Deal appeared to spell the end of an 11th-hour attempt by L.A. supermarket magnate Ron Burkle and former MySpace chief Brad Greenspan to buy the company.

While price is unlikely to be an issue, some Bancroft members are reportedly still reluctant to turn editorial control of the Wall Street Journal over to the Australian tycoon.

If the deal goes through, it will mark the second time that a major newspaper has been sold to a mogul in the past six months — and could up the pressure on the Sulzberger family, which controls the New York Times, to loosen its hold on the company.

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