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Murdoch aims to crown career with the WSJ

At the age of 76 Rupert Murdoch is showing no sign of slowing down. The question today is can he crown his career with a spectacular purchase of the Wall Street Journal, the second largest paper in the US?

With the controlling Bancroft family divided he stands a good chance of succeeding. The family said yesterday that it intended to cast “slighly more than 50%” of the voting stock against the $60 a share offer for Dow Jones, publisher of the financial paper. According to the WSJ that suggests about 80% of the family voting power is against a deal.

The family control depends on super-voting “B” shares with carry 10 times the voting power of “A” shares in Dow Jones. Yesterday two-thirds of the “A” shares changed hands as the price shot up by more than a half to $56.20, many of them going into the hands of investors who are likely to press for the sale.

Other businesses may decide to make bids but some of the suggested contenders have ruled themselves out of any contest.

Murdoch is moving to counter suggestions that he would influence editorial policy by offering safeguards including a separate board for the WSJ.

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