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Murdoch Meter Reaches 85%: Microsoft Balks At Bidding For Dow Jones

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We touched on this story in Opening Bell so we won’t spill too many pixels on it now. Suffice to say, we’d all heard that General Electric was looking for a partner to buy Dow Jones and defend its CNBC property against the challenge of a Fox Business Network-Wall Street Journal combination. But we didn't think much of it.
Sure, Microsoft was a natural partner, having built MSNBC with GE. And while Microsoft isn’t eager to become a newspaper publisher, maybe they’d want to get in on Dow Jones strong web presence. They used to have a taste for this sort thing, right? Until very recently, CNBC’s entire web presence was tucked away in a little corner of Microsoft’s MSN.
But that was then. This is web 2.0. The big players in the internet space aren’t so enthusiastic about creating content these days. And certainly not for paying people to create content. It’s all “user-generated” and “social networking” all the time—think MySpace, YouTube, and even Even CBS’s purchase of WallStrip might morph into something more sophisticated if they let a million WallStrips bloom and do for finance user-videos what FunnyOrDie is doing for comedy. Microsoft has the cash but not the desire to own Dow Jones.
The implausibility of all the “competing” deals that are currently “on the table”—none of which have actually gone through the trouble of being competitive with News Corp’s $5 billion bid and which are not actually on any tables—actually make Murdoch’s bid more likely to succeed. The Bancrofts, having very publicly declared a willingness to sell, must now look around and wonder: is that it? And, yes, it seems that it is. Last week we had Murdoch at 80%. At the start of this week, post-Microbalk, he’s reach 85%.