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The Dow of Murdoch: The End Is Nigh

We were so busy bringing you the news that the board of Dow Jones & Company and News Corp have agreed in principle on a plan to protect the editorial independence of the Wall Street Journal (apparently no one cares about Barron’s), that we neglected to update the Murdoch Meter.
Contrary to the suspicions of some, the meter isn’t set by the arbitrary whims of the DealBreaker editors and reports. It’s set by the interns.
Just kidding. We employ a complex formula employing market variables to distill the meter’s current standing. Without going into the details of our secret formula, we'll give you the outlines. We take the current share price compare it to Murdoch’s offer, and discount for information we think may not yet be fully digested by the market. Right now the Meter tells us that Murdoch has about a 95% chance of acquiring Dow Jones. (In case you need a more recently updated version, you can now click here.)
By the way, the deal is not quite done. Although the Dow Jones board, which includes representatives of the Bancroft family, may have more or less reached an agreement with Murdoch, the family has been surprisingly fractious and unpredictable through this process. It’s not clear that any attempt has been made to poll Bancroft family members on the proposal. Most likely, they haven’t even seen the details yet.
What’s more, the Wall Street Journal reports that there are still “open items” that remain. In our experience, these small “open items” that get left until the last minute either get swept away or become DealBreakers. Sometimes they remain open because nobody could be bothered to deal with the small things. After hour upon hour in a conference room, when the only thing left to drink is diet Sprite and all the cookies are raisin granola, you’re hardly in the mood to debate the eye-care plan for executive assistants. But sometimes those things end up mattering to someone who matters, or cost more than anyone imagined. We’ve walked back into conference rooms the day after to discover that our small “open items” list—usually kept on a legal pad or a laptop by the most junior person in the room—has become a list of DealBreakers. Beware the open items.
Update: Some are wondering whether this whole process is a farce. Gary Weiss writes of the agreement to protect the editorial independence, "I think any such agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on, but then again I'm cynical."
Dow Jones, News Corp. Agree On Set of Editorial Protections [Wall Street Journal]


By John (Flickr: Panic button) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The End Is Nigh

Stocks went down instead of up.