Dow Jones Unions Find An Unlikely White Knight

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Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle indicated yesterday that he may be interested with Dow Jones employee unions to make a bid for the company. The union representing newspaper employees at the Wall Street Journal has objected to the attempt by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to acquire the parent company of the newspaper, claiming that Murdoch would interfere with the editorial integrity of the paper to push his business and political interests.
Burkle is a unlikelyimplausible surprising hero to emerge for the cause of journalistic independence. He has little background in journalism, having made his fortune running a supermarket chain. He's been known to be more than a little bit politically active, and famously is good friends with Bill Clinton. And he's been known to threaten legal action against media outlets who have published material not to his liking.
It's far from clear how the acquisition would be financed. Burkle has a personal fortune worth an estimated $2 billion, meaning that if he spent every dime he's got he'd still fall $3 billion short of the bid for Dow Jones from News Corp. There has been speculation that Burkle and the union might finance a competing bid by taking on a high level of debt, which would potentially put the financially troubled company in an even more precarious position.
Sometimes, it seems, you have to destroy a newspaper in order to save it from Rupert Murdoch.
Burkle considers entering Dow arena [Financial Times]

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