So there you have it. I was just talking about where the publishing industry was headed last week and the unfair pressures being brought to bear by Wall Street.
Albeit in the making for some time, yesterday’s news headlines represent an interesting reaction to this very theme.
1) News Corp has tendered an unsolicited offer to Dow Jones for $5B
2) Cablevision has agreed to be taken private by the Dolan family for $10.5B in cash
In the case of News Corp, these are coveted assets Murdoch wants to grow his publishing fiefdom. With an oversized bid, they’re hoping the Bancroft family can’t say no to delivering significant shareholder returns in light of the foreseeable continuing declines in the near term. However, if the Bancroft family does say no, it will certainly bring a whole new round of scrutiny to the dual class stock structure. Not a good thing !
In the Dolans' case, I think the message is clear: “Leave us alone. We built this company and know how to grow it.” All in all, case two is a good storyline. The stockholders are happy and Cablevision will continue to grow as a private entity under the Dolans' management.
I wish the other publishing dynasties would take some notes from the Dolans' playbook and consider an LBO of sorts so they can sustain themselves without the meddlers from Wall Street sticking their noses in.
If you want to be a steward of a public trust at all costs, you better be prepared to walk the walk.