- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2007

12:59 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire investor Ron Burkle is interested in exploring a bid for Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, in conjunction with the union that represents Journal employees, the head of the union said today.

The union, the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, had reached out to Mr. Burkle and other potential bidders after Dow Jones’ controlling shareholders agreed to meet with Rupert Murdoch to consider his $5 billion bid for the company.

The union and many Journal employees, as well as a significant shareholder, Jim Ottaway Jr., remain fiercely opposed to Mr. Murdoch’s bid, saying he might bend the Journal’s coverage to suit his business interests.

Steve Yount, president of the Dow Jones union, said Mr. Burkle was the first of several potential bidders to respond to its overtures. Mr. Burkle’s interest was first reported today by the Wall Street Journal in a story carried on Dow Jones Newswires.

Mr. Yount said Mr. Burkle’s interest was preliminary and the details had yet to be sorted out. Mr. Yount said the union also had contacted other potential bidders, including investor Warren Buffett, but had heard back only from Mr. Burkle. Mr. Yount declined to identify the other potential bidders.

Mr. Burkle previously had expressed an interest in buying Tribune Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other newspapers, together with fellow billionaire Eli Broad, but that company eventually agreed to be taken private in a deal sponsored by Chicago real estate investor Sam Zell.

Mr. Burkle, who made a fortune investing in supermarket chains, teamed up last year with a union representing employees at nine Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers in an effort to buy that company. However, Knight Ridder wound up selling itself to McClatchy Co., another California-based publisher.

Mr. Burkle’s office didn’t return calls seeking comment.

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