Those hesitant Bancrofts who sold the Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch last year have something to smile about this Christmas. Murdoch may be delighted with his new toy, but News Corp.'s share price has plunged 61%, farther than even perennial underperformer Time Warner. One year after its acquisition of Dow Jones, the New York Times Breaking Views column rather gleefully estimates just how much the Journal really cost.
As the financial sector reels and the newspaper industry crumbles, Dow Jones has probably lost about half of its $3 billion value since 2007, when Murdoch paid a pretty $5 billion to acquire it. That means that News Corp. has ceded $3.5 billion to the Bancrofts—a price that Murdoch might be able to stomach, but his shareholders might not.