Other media organizations have passed on the deal, among them General Electric, who owns NBC Universal, and Financial Times publisher Pearson (whose Berkley division published my third book Selling 2.0).
In a statement today NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker, with reference to Murdock's $5 billion offer, said his organization passed on the deal because it would not be "fiscally disciplined" to continue. Zucker added, "I am not going to presume to know what's in Rupert's mind in terms of why he's bid what he's bid."
This week's Time magazine cover story gives us that very look into Murdock's mind and it is all about creatively revising the Wall Street Journal's publishing business model:
"What if, at the Journal, we spent $100 million a year hiring all the best business journalists in the world? Say 200 of them. And spent some money on establishing the brand but went global — a great, great newspaper with big, iconic names, outstanding writers, reporters, experts. And then you make it free, online only. No printing plants, no paper, no trucks. How long would it take for the advertising to come? It would be successful, it would work and you'd make ... a little bit of money. Then again, the Journal and the Times make very little money now."
Every publisher can take a lesson from this. Murdock is not looking to buy the Wall Street Journal for what it is, but for what it could be if it's brand were leveraged into new media.