Updated from 12:46 p.m. EDT
will not launch a bid for
( DJ), leaving Rupert Murdoch with one less roadblock in his pursuit of the
Wall Street Journal
In a statement Thursday, GE said that following exploratory discussions with Britain's Pearson, the two have decided not to pursue a combination of their financial-media divisions with Dow Jones. GE said, however, that it continues to discuss a cooperative agreement between its
business news channel and Pearson's
Murdoch's global media conglomerate
has offered to buy Dow Jones for $60 a share, or roughly $5 billion. That bid, however, has faced opposition from Dow Jones' controlling family, the Bancrofts, because of questions about Murdoch's editorial integrity.
On Wednesday, Dow Jones said its board would take over negotiations about a potential buyout. Previously, the Bancrofts were working directly with Murdoch to discuss ways to protect the editorial independence of the
and its other publications.
So far, the potential GE and Pearson team was viewed as the only credible rival suitor for Dow Jones. The two companies were reportedly eyeing a combination that would tie together GE's
and Dow Jones in a separate entity.
is about to face a major challenge from News Corp., which is set to launch a new business channel this year. A News Corp. acquisition of Dow Jones would likely kill a current content-sharing agreement between
, and it would also give the fledgling Fox channel instant credibility with its access to the financial world's most respected newspaper.
GE's talks with Pearson about a partnership with the
could lessen the blow of Murdoch's move.
Shares of Dow Jones recently were down 55 cents, or 0.9%, to $60.10.