Updated from 12:46 p.m. EDT

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and

Pearson

(PSO) - Get Report

will not launch a bid for

Dow Jones

( DJ), leaving Rupert Murdoch with one less roadblock in his pursuit of the

Wall Street Journal

publisher.

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

CNBC

business news channel and Pearson's

Financial Times

.

Murdoch's global media conglomerate

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

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

Journal

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

CNBC

, the

FT

and Dow Jones in a separate entity.

GE's

CNBC

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

CNBC

and the

Journal

, 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

Financial Times

could lessen the blow of Murdoch's move.

Shares of Dow Jones recently were down 55 cents, or 0.9%, to $60.10.