The Life and Times of Rupert Murdoch

Get ready for The Wall Street Times.

That's according to Vanity Fair writer Michael Wolff, who recently wrote of how News Corp. (NYSE: NWS  ) CEO and chairman Rupert Murdoch desperately wants to acquire The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT  ) . Quoting:

It's obviously irresistible to him. I've watched him go through the numbers, plot out a merger with [The Wall Street Journal's] backroom operations, and fantasize about the staff's quitting en masse as soon as he entered the sacred temple. It would be sweet revenge -- because the Times for so long has made him the bogeyman and vulgarian. And wonderful to own not just one of America's most important papers but both (he believes in monopolies).

Therein lies just one of the problems, Rupe. You may believe in monopolies, but Uncle Sam doesn't. Unless you're Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) in satellite radio. Or Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) in digital media. Or Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) in computer chips.

Meanwhile, back in reality ...
Seriously, is this idea even thinkable? Could there be a Wall Street Times? On the one hand, sure; newspapers are desperate for readers and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has already emerged as a new media mogul. Who cares if the Gray Lady marries the old man?

On the other, there's so much debate over media consolidation that a merger of this size, starring an editorial tour-de-force such as Murdoch, has as much chance of succeeding as Bill Maher has of earning a last-second guest-speaker slot at tonight's closing of the Republican National Convention.

Not that the controlling Sulzberger family would sell anyway. These aren't disinterested observers as the Bancrofts of Dow Jones proved to be: Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. is chairman of New York Times Co. and publisher of The New York Times.

But there's a bigger issue at work here. Forget for a moment the monopoly argument. Forget, too, Murdoch's reported meddling. Does New York Times Co. have the right to take money from the public markets and then cling tight to founder's shares to prevent raiders or reformers from demanding change?

I get the arguments -- I'm even for them. Diversity of opinion and freedom of the press are vital. Want to preserve them? Want Rupert to go away? Fine, Mr. Sulzberger: Take New York Times Co. private.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had positions in Google's shares and LEAPs at the time of publication. He also hunts for the best of tech as a contributor to Motley Fool Rule Breakers, which counts Google among its core holdings. Here's how to try this market-beating service free for 30 days. Get access to all of Tim's Foolish writings here.

Apple is a Stock Advisor selection. Intel is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is green and should be read all over.


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