The Wall Street Journal is owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who purchased the company for $5 billion in 2007 through his company, News Corporation. The sale ended the 105-year-long ownership of the Wall Street Journal by the Bancroft family. Murdoch, one of the world’s most powerful media tycoons, founded Fox Broadcasting in 1986. As of 2015, the Murdoch family controls a media empire consisting of 120 newspapers in five countries, multimedia company 21st Century Fox and book publisher HarperCollins. Founded in 1889, the Wall Street Journal has long dominated American business publishing and was the country's first national newspaper.

Phone-Hacking Scandal

Not long after News Corp purchased the Wall Street Journal, news broke that journalists at British newspapers owned by Murdoch were tapping phone lines to get the inside scoop for their stories. While Murdoch says he had no direct involvement, the scandal forced the closure of the News of the World, Britain’s top-selling newspaper and led to criminal charges against many senior journalists. As a result, Murdoch dropped his bid to purchase the BSkyB satellite network.

Most members of the Bancroft family said they would not have sold the company to Murdoch had they known of the conduct of his employees in the phone-hacking scandal. Even before news broke of the scandal, many members of the family showed concern over Murdoch's journalistic practices and attempted to put an independent panel in place to safeguard the paper's ethics.

Details of the Sale

Murdoch offered $60 a share, a 67% premium, and $2.25 billion over the announced market price on the day his offer was announced. The newspaper industry was struggling, and many prominent daily papers had already closed or drastically reduced production, so Murdoch’s deal was extremely attractive.