A guy asks a woman if she will sleep with him for $50. She says no.
Then he says, "What if I gave you $1 million?"
She says, "Sure."
And the guy says, "Now that we have established what you are, the only remaining issue is price."
Which brings us to today's news about Dow Jones. After four weeks of playing possum, hoping that Rupert Murdoch and his $5 billion, $60-a-share offer somehow will just go away, the controlling Bancroft family finally has come to grips with its fate. They've agreed to meet with Murdoch to talk about a possible deal.
Or, as they put it:
"After a detailed review of the business of Dow Jones and the evolving competitive environment in which it operates, the family has reached consensus that the mission of Dow Jones may be better accomplished in combination or collaboration with another organization, which may include News Corp."
Translation: "Show us the money."
Yeah, the Bancrofts also let it be known that they'd listen to--hell, they'd prefer, to the point of begging--an offer from somebody, anybody, who's not Murdoch. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen. More than likely, it's Murdoch or nothing. And apparently enough family members have figured out that "nothing" is a lousy outcome.
Now, as the joke goes (props to Alan Mutter for reminding me, btw), the major remaining issue is price. Murdoch has offered the Bancrofts $60 a share to sleep with him; they've said no. For a few dollars more, however, their resistance probably will crumble. And Rupert Murdoch will control Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.
I hope he at least buys them dinner first.