Mr. Murdoch, the Bancroft family did a big favor for you last week. They refused to sell the Dow Jones Company to you for more than it's worth. Here's my advice: thank God, go home and then build the world's best business news organization from scratch.
It's not that you couldn't divide and conquer: the Bancrofts are in—what?—their fifth generation? None of them really cares much about the inner workings of the newspaper. They just want cover so that they don't get hammered by the rest of the press for selling a precious national resource to that upstart from down under. In the end, sixty bucks per share can keep the heirs in speedboats and modern art for at least another generation, and if they can get it and save face at the same time, they'd be crazy not to.
But is the deal really good for you? The price is, as you recently said "MORE than fair". If it's more than fair to them, then it's less than fair to you and yours.
Yes, owning Dow Jones would help as you build the greatest media corporation in the world; but you can also do that without Dow Jones. Yes, it would help Neil Cavuto build that Fox fn of yours; but Neil knows what he's doing. He needs sous chefs not divas in his kitchen. And yes, the Journal Ed Page is the best conservative op/ed page in the world; but that's just the opinion operation. The news guys are further left than the Post (Washington, not New York) or the Times (New York, not Washington). Their reporters win most of their Pulitzers exposing bad businesses, not understanding good ones. Besides, the WSJ Ed page isn't a business page anymore, it's mostly politics now.
As large sections of the newspaper industry shuffle off into oblivion, lots of print talent is going to hit the street looking for work. You can buy teachable news-gatherers at a discount, or you can buy a recalcitrant news bureaucracy at a premium.
And besides, the Forbeses, unlike the Bancrofts, actually seem to like capitalism.
This article originally appeared on TCS Daily.