I keep thinking about what The Wall Street Journal would write about the following company's takeover trials.
1. The company gets the takeover bid and the senior officers sit on the bid and disclose it to no one as the stock goes up, making it likely that there will be trading on inside information. That's why the law wants timely dispersal of material information. Can you imagine the field day the
would have with that?
2. There's an incredible amount of call-buying after the receipt of the bid -- but before it is announced as a scoop, no less. Who knows how long the company in question would have sat on it?
3. The board turns out to be a total nonentity and doesn't even take a position on the bid. Can you imagine what the
reporters and editors would do with that?
4. The controlling shareholder family's spokespeople, before the bid is even cold, say the word is "no." Without even polling the family? Can you get more duplicitous? The polling turns out to be wrong.
5. The scion of a subsidiary chain without any reputation for greatness or even goodness turns out to be the most vociferous board member against the bid. (OK, by now you've figured out that I'm abstracting the
( DJ) situation with this
bid from Rupert Murdoch. Frankly, I would rather work for the worst Murdoch property than the best Ottaway paper. Nobody takes Ottaway to task for that "irony.")
6. There seems to be only one kind of independence the
cares about: reporting independence. How about editorial independence? Why doesn't anyone there talk about how the editorial page's view would be preserved under Murdoch
but not other owner in the media?
Why isn't that pointed out? Ron Burkle sure wouldn't preserve that. I think that's a great point in favor of Murdoch.
7. The resumes are flying out of the bid-for company, yet it never gets reported. (And everyone knows it.)
8. The numbers are so bad since the year began that the hypothetical company in question would be laying off people right now, but management wants to wait because it would look bad and make the need for a deep-pocketed bidder much more evident. (Wouldn't do to look like they need Murdoch, would it?)
9. The paper seems reluctant to report on the myriad failures to diversify away from anything except for newspaper. (So what? The reason you needed the diversification was to pay for the paper. Instead, all we hear about is the need to preserve purity. You know how preserve purity? You make money away from it.)
10. The new travesty: How could
all of these promotions be made today fully knowing that the paper and the company will most likely be sold? What the heck? Where's the questioning and reporting of that?
Nah. Too close to home.
This story, if it had been
business, not just the press, would have produced an endless series of stories about how rogue this company has been, how anti-shareholder, frankly, how disgraceful this whole episode has been.
Fortunately for Dow Jones, its executives, its board members and the clueless controlling family, the company owns the most important business newspaper in the country.
What a break.
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.
Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
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