General Electric’s NBC Universal unit apparently joined the fray for control of TheWall Street Journal, teaming up with publisher Pearson -- parent of Financial Times -- to explore apossible bid for Journal parent Dow Jones to rival that of News Corp., according to press reports.
According to reports in TheNew York Times and the Journal, GE is in talks with Pearson to launch a competing bid for Dow Jones. In May, News Corp. launched a $5 billion unsolicited bid for the publisher, in part to provide instant credibility for its soon-to-be-launched Fox Business Channel.
According to the papers, GE is mulling joining with Pearson in part to bolster its CNBC cable financial-news channel. Pearson entered the fray weeks ago when it was revealed that the U.K. publisher was seeking partners for a possible counterbid for Dow Jones. Apparently, GE expressed some interest.
According to TheNew York Times, NBC U chief Jeff Zucker and CNBC president Mark Hoffman canceled a planned appearance at a London financial conference Monday in part because of the talks with Pearson.
CNBC vice president of media relations Kevin Goldman declined to comment.
If GE and Pearson were to come out on top in the bidding -- and both articles stressed that talks are preliminary and could end without the two making a bid -- it would create a financial-news juggernaut with CNBC, Financial Times and Dow Jones.
The Journal said in its article that in one scenario, GE and Pearson would combine CNBC, Financial Times and Dow Jones into a privately held joint venture. The Bancroft family, which currently holds a controlling interest in Dow Jones, would own a minority stake, according to the report.
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