Investor Burkle joins Dow Jones union in bid try


NEW YORK - Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle has joined Dow Jones & Co. Inc. employees to try to counter a $5 billion bid for the company from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., a union official said on Tuesday.

Burkle has told the union that he's interested in working together to formulate an offer, said Steven Yount, a representative for the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees , which represents 2,000 Dow Jones workers.

The IAPE announced on Monday it would search for other bidders as members of Dow Jones' controlling Bancroft family met for the first time with Murdoch to entertain a possible deal.

The union has also approached Warren Buffett on a potential counter-offer for the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, but has not received a response yet, he said.

Burkle was part of an unsuccessful bid for publisher Tribune Co.

earlier this year. He was not immediately available for comment.

Buffett received a letter from the union on Tuesday, but was not immediately available for comment, his assistant Debbie Bosanek said.

Buffett said last month it was "very, very unlikely" that he would bid for Dow Jones, either as a personal investment or together with his company Berkshire Hathaway, citing a high bid already on the table from Murdoch.

The IAPE is trying to build interest among six to 10 other potential bidders, Yount said. He would not name anyone beside Buffett and Burkle.

"As much as we appreciate the interest of Ron Burkle, we will continue to reach out to others who are interested in joining together with IAPE in putting together a proposal," Yount said.

Dow Jones shares rose 88 cents, or 1.46%, to $61.04 on the New York Stock Exchange, slightly higher than the News Corp. offer that values the company at $60 per share.