News Corp. deal not yet reached, Dow Jones says

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NEW YORK -- Final takeover talks between News Corp. and Dow Jones & Co. looked set to continue into the new week after representatives for Dow Jones and the Bancroft family that controls it denied a report that suggested that the deal was virtually done.

U.K. newspaper the Business reported Friday that the Dow Jones board was backing the deal, with a formal announcement on the deal expected in the coming days.

However, a spokesman for financial news and information powerhouse Dow Jones, which owns the Wall Street Journal, said Friday that the report was "incorrect." The talks are "ongoing," he added.

A spokesman for the Bancroft family said: "I am reliably informed that there is no change in the status of the discussions currently under way. News Corp. is continuing to conduct due diligence, and the negotiations are not complete."

News Corp. officials couldn't be reached for comment.

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch recently signaled he was looking for a final decision by Dow Jones and the Bancrofts by around mid to late July.

While Murdoch also has said he isn't looking to raise his offer of $60 per share, observers have predicted Dow Jones could look for a slightly sweetened price tag.

News Corp. and Dow Jones recently agreed on the key elements of an arrangement that would safeguard the editorial independence of key Dow Jones assets.

The Bancroft family is expected to vote on any final takeover agreement, should News Corp. and Dow Jones reach one.

Observers expect the final parts of the deal to be hammered out soon.
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