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Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and media mogul, is interested in acquiring either the Wall Street Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones, or The Washington Posta source close to his thinking told Axios.
- The combination of Bloomberg and Dow Jones would create an unprecedented economic news giant.
Details: Bloomberg, the source notes, would be interested in a possible acquisition of either property, but Dow Jones – the publisher of financial titles such as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch – would be a more solid target.
- Bloomberg is close to the owner of parent company Dow Jones News Corp, Rupert Murdochand believes that efforts to merge News Corp and its sister company Fox Corporation will fail, creating a possible opening.
- At least one activist investor said he would prefer News Corp spin off parts of its business – either its real estate platform or Dow Jones – to unlock value for investors.
- Still, Bloomberg has yet to approach Murdoch about his interest, nor has he begun engaging official third parties, like bankers, to assess the opportunity.
- Bloomberg is friends with, but not close to, Bezos, the source said. He sees the Post combined with Bloomberg as a formidable potential competitor to the New York Times.
An agreement with the Dow Jones would give Bloomberg access to a leading trading title that could be leveraged to sell more subscriptions to the Bloomberg Terminal, a real-time data, news and analytics platform for financial professionals .
- Terminal subscriptions make up the vast majority of Bloomberg LP’s revenue, which topped $10 billion for the first time in 2018.
- Bloomberg’s news offering, powered by Bloomberg Media — a separate division within Bloomberg LP — has helped Terminal differentiate itself from other Wall Street data and analytics platforms.
- Bloomberg plans to integrate any title it acquires with Bloomberg Media, creating a formidable business news empire, the source said.
- News Corp declined to comment.
Between the lines: The Post, while less obvious, could help amplify Bloomberg’s opinion federal government coveragewhich includes Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Government.
- The paper is losing money this year and lost digital subscribers following the Trump-era subscription surge.
- The company, which was bought by Jeff Bezos in 2013 for $250 million, said last week that layoffs arrive in the first quarter of 2023. The Post’s two big software bets under Bezos are to be shelved and potentially soldwhich leads some to wonder how invested Bezos is still in the property.
- A Post spokesperson told Axios, “The Post is not for sale.”
The big picture: Bloomberg has a history of acquiring professional news companies and integrating them into its media strategy.
- Bloomberg LP purchased what was then a professional services news and research group called the Bureau of National Affairs, or BNA, for about $990 million in 2011. Bloomberg BNA is now called “Bloomberg Industry Group” and includes subdivisions focused on topics such as legal reporting.
- The company acquired a portfolio benchmark and strategic indices activity of Barclays in 2016, and finally renamed as “Bloomberg Indices” after the expiration of a five-year co-branding deal with Barclays.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to indicate that Bloomberg LP purchased BNA in 2011, not 2021.