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The One Thing To Watch For At Dow Jones

Posted by: Jon Fine on November 2, 2005

The good news is that Dow Jones’ stock outperformed market indices in the last week of October. The bad news is it’s hard to tell whether this was driven by some slightly more encouraging analyst reports or deal rumors that sent trading volume skyrocketing on October 27.

To paraphrase a bad, bad Whitesnake song, here we go again with Dow Jones. Wall Street is grumbling; insiders and outsiders gripe about CEO Peter Kann’s management; there’s talk of family discontent. It’s 1997 and 1998 all over again. (See here; subscription required.) A look at the company’s longterm stock performance in the past several years is depressingly instructive. And some think even that performance has been artificially inflated lately: One deal side guy I talked with said he believes that a couple of a dollars of a sale premium already baking into Dow Jones’ stock price.

Still: Through all this family members and its trusts have continued to sell small chunks of Dow Jones stock, and they’ve done so at regular intervals. If there were serious deal talks happening, they couldn’t do this.

The one thing to watch out for that could indicate the deal chatter about Dow Jones is real is if and when the family stops selling shares.



The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.



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