Crain’s is reporitng that Mr. Murdoch has put in a bid to buy Newsday. The sourcing in the Crain‘s piece is odd–it is "now believed" that he’s done this according to "one newspaper industry insider"–but the speculation is convincing.
Sam Zell announced today that the Tribune Company lost $78.8 million in the fourth quarter last year and now is considering selling off some core assets. Rupert Murdoch has gone on the record in the past expressing his interest. Crain‘s reports:
Mr. Murdoch has long had an interest in Newsday. A year ago, around the time that Tribune was exploring a sale of the entire company, he tried to establish a joint operating agreement between the Tribune paper and News Corp.’s New York Post. He told analysts and others that the agreement would create “a very, very powerful combination for advertisers” and turn the money-losing Post into a viable business “in five minutes.”
Then again, is it the right timing? Mr. Murdoch’s Pagesix.com folded today and their vice president, Jennifer Jehn, has issued this statement: "Given the difficulty in the economy, it was not the right time for this launch." And as Gawker writes about the pagesix.com close, "[Murdoch] will be wary of overstretching the company, particularly after stretching to acquire the Wall Street Journal. During the last big advertising downturn, Murdoch nearly lost control of his company."
Still, a difference between a Web site and a strong regional newspaper–even if it is having its share of problems.