BUSINESS DEALS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

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A few months ago, Africa Israel USA, a unit of Africa Israel Investments, paid $525 million for the landmark building that has served as the headquarters for The New York Times for the past 94 years.

Tishman Speyer purchased the building from the newspaper company in 2004 for $175 million.

And now, Tishman has been able to sell the building for triple what it paid the Times only three years ago.

So, real estate is not the expertise of The New York Times’ top business management.

Investors know better, and today, the shares of the newspaper company are at $18.64

The value of the company is now half of what Rupert Murdoch paid for Dow Jones.



MURDOCH: ‘THERE IS REAL HUNGER… FOR FINANCIAL NEWS’

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Rupert Murdoch speaking about Dow Jones at the 2007 annual News Corporation stockholders’ meeting on October 19, 2007:

This strategic acquisition includes not only The Wall Street Journal, the world’s pre-eminent business newspaper, but other prestigious brands and a range of content that will provide us with remarkable reach and flexibility in the growing business news sector.

There is a real hunger … not just in the United States, but across the globe … for financial news



RANKINGS: SOCIAL NETWORKS

Files under MYSPACE, Rupert Murdoch, Social Networks | Oct 18th

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Rupert Murdoch was right to buy MySpace.



THE NY DAILY NEWS VS. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

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The New York Daily News goes forward confronting Columbia University now.

I don’t think that this crazy campaign is going to help anybody.

If the U.S. government is talking with the Iranian President, giving him a visa to speak at the United Nations…

Why not listen to what he has to say and ask him the right questions.

The faculty and students of Columbia University will be smart enough to confront his ideas, not the person.

As a former Columbia University fellow, I know that they are not as stupid as this stupid campaign pretends.

Rupert Murdoch and The New York Post must be very happy.

The New York Daily News will pay a high toll for this madness.

Today, The Post has this graphic that confronts the “madman” with some humor:

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MURDOCH’S FIRST MOVE AT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

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The first decision will have this headline:

WSJ Stops Charging for Access to Its Web Site.

Any doubt?

No.

So, the Financial Times is next.

As Jeff Jarvis says in a terrific post:

It’s the relationship that is valuable.

It’s the relationship that is profitable, not the control of the content or the distribution.

That is the essential media moral of the internet story.

It has taken 13 years of internet history for media companies to learn that, to give up the idea that they control something scarce they can charge consumers for, but they’ve finally learned it.

That is the lesson of the death of TimesSelect.

Jeff also tells this great story:

I remember Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, giving a speech in which he ridiculed the revenue TimesSelect brought in.

In his beloved PowerPoint, Rusbridger showed a picture of the new Times headquarters and said that the revenue from TimesSelect wouldn’t even pay the gas bill for the place.

(Illustration by Vince Natale/NYT)



UP & DOWN

Files under Facebook, MYSPACE, Rupert Murdoch | Jun 25th

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Facebook is UP.

MySpace is DOWN.

Rupert Murdoch was right:

Today he would have bid for Facebook.



MURDOCH’S BID AND THE BANCROFTS’ DILEMA

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I had brunch today in New York with a former editor of The Wall Street Journal.

His opinion:

The Murdoch bid is an offer that the Bancroft family can not refuse.

Why?

Because the $5 billion bid is big, big money.

The Bancrofts will not get more than that.

If they refuse the offer, the management, the journalists and the shareholders of Dow Jones will ask them to invest more… and at the same time the value of the stock could deteriorate very quickly.

So… get the money now and run.

Robert Thompson is a good friend of the current editor of The Wall Street Journal.

And Murdoch has more plans for the future than the lazy Bancrofts, who are interested mainly in good dividends.

It makes a lot of sense.



A LONG AND CANDID WALL STREET JOURNAL INTERVIEW WITH RUPERT MURDOCH

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The Wall Street Journal interviews him.

It’s a good one.

Rupert Murdoch at his best!

Just the final Q&A:

WSJ: The Tribune company was shopped around for quite a while.

Mr. Murdoch: Yeah, but there weren’t any buyers.

WSJ: There was one in the end.

Mr. Murdoch: For $90 million. Risk. That’s in the figures …

WSJ: Why didn’t you do it?

Mr. Murdoch: Don’t want to spend the rest of my life going through that, getting rid of people, ugly. I think they’re in decline, they can fire a few hundred people everywhere, save a couple of hundred million dollars … I guess they will have a billion a year to pay down the debt, that’s what it sounds like. No, a bit less … I would have thought that, although the decline in readership … will probably go on…

WSJ: They’re all going to MySpace.

Mr. Murdoch: I wish they were. They’re all going to Facebook at the moment.

(Via John Duncan)



THE MURDOCH MEDIA ADVANTAGE

Roy Greensland liked my last comment about Murdoch.

Well… here’s another cheap shot.

This one is from an art director (a very bad one if this is what he produces) from The New York Times.

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Let me just add one thing:

The Bancroft family is the same one that, for decades, produced a very poor Wall Street Journal.

The credit for the most recent one belongs to Barney Kilgore, who, in the 50′s, changed this newspaper for ever.

He was a great editor.

Dow Jones earned more than $13 million in 1966, the last full year of Kilgore’s tenure, compared with some $211,000 in 1945, when he officially became chief executive.

So… the Bancrofts and the Wall Street Journal don’t need to be afraid of Rupert Murdoch.

They need to be worried about bad editors and bad publishers.

Rupert Murdoch is not an outsider.

He is us.

As good and as bad as all of us in this industry could be.

But he speaks our language.

Not the language of the financial or real state moguls who want to control Dow Jones now.



THE WALL STREET JOURNAL UNDER RUPERT MURDOCH?

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It’s clear to me that, in general, U.S. journalists, editors and publishers don’t like Rupert Murdoch.

Why?

The U.S. newspaper industry is very parochial.

Go to the participant list of any big international newspaper conference outside the United States and you will find only a few people from this country.

Go to any of their domestic conferences and you’ll find hardly any speakers or presentations from other markets.

Our beloved Leo Bogart used to explain the reasons:

This has been a monopolistic business.

Making a lot of money.

Producing very mediocre news products.

Ruled by advertisers.

Selling the papers almost free.

So…

When somebody comes here and wants to buy The Wall Street Journal, the industry pundits make astonishing “revelations” like this one: “He will control the editorial voice of the paper.”

Oh yes?

Excuse me, but I have been reading the WSJ for many years and the “editorial voice” of the paper was, and is, one of the most right wing voices of the newspaper world.

But more than that: do you know, my friends, ANY newspaper owner that doesn’t control the “editorial voice” of his paper?

C’omon!

The Wall Street Journal under Rupert Murdoch will NOT be able to be more right wing than it is now.

But The Wall Street Journal under Rupert Murdoch will perhaps have a better multimedia and online strategy and business management.

And perhaps he will invest and re-invest some of the money that the Bancroft family is pocketing today from profits and dividends.

If I were a journalist or an editor at the WSJ I would not be worried about who controls the “editorial voice” of the paper, but about if the people who run the company have a serious multimedia and online strategy, are ready to invest a lot of money in that vision and keep the newsroom doing its job as well as it has been — including the “editorial voice” of the editorial pages.

Rupert never has been as right wing than they are now… thanks to the Bancroft family.