The news at a glance
Dow Jones: Murdoch moves in; Pharmaceuticals: Feds say no to OTC Mevacor; Money markets: Central banks to the rescue; Manufacturing: Ingersoll-Rand’s cool deal; Television: Late-night hosts to return to air
Dow Jones: Murdoch moves inThe Murdoch era of The Wall Street Journal has begun, said John Koblin in The New York Observer. Last week, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. closed on the $5 billion acquisition of the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones & Co., from the Bancroft family. But even before the deal was completed, Murdoch had begun “to push out remnants of the Bancroft era.” Most notably, Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino resigned to make way for longtime News Corp. executive Les Hinton. Never mind that during his pursuit of Dow Jones last summer, Murdoch said he had no plans to replace Zannino.
Zannino’s resignation “highlights the changes about to sweep through the company,” said Sarah Ellison in The Wall Street Journal. A host of senior executives “are expected to follow Mr. Zannino out the door,” and Murdoch himself “is likely to take a hands-on role” at the paper. He has already made it clear he wants to convert the Journal’s subscription-only Web site to a free site, and he has urged the paper’s editors to run shorter, newsier stories. “His experience could serve as a template—or a cautionary tale—for the rest of the newspaper industry.”
Pharmaceuticals: Feds say no to OTC MevacorFederal regulators last week turned down Merck’s bid to sell itscholesterol-lowering drug Mevacor without a prescription, said Lauran Neergaard in the Associated Press. Merck wants to boost sales of Mevacor, “the granddaddy of the famed cholesterol-lowering drugs,” which will soon lose patent protection. But the medical advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration concluded that “too many of the wrong people would use the drug if it no longer required a prescription.” The panel also raised concerns that people would turn to the drugs instead of seeking a doctor’s care.Money markets: Central banks to the rescueThe Federal Reserve teamed up with central banks in Europe and Asia last week to launch “a coordinated assault on the credit squeeze in global financial markets,” said the Financial Times. The Fed said it would lend against a wide range of distressed mortgage securities, while other central banks said they would make more U.S. dollars available for loans. The moves “helped ease pressure in money markets,” where conditions “remained strained by normal standards.”
Manufacturing: Ingersoll-Rand’s cool dealIndustrial conglomerate Ingersoll-Rand this week purchased air-conditioner maker Trane for $10.1 billion, said Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced in The New York Times. By adding Trane to holdings—which include Koxka, Krack, and Thermo-King—Ingersoll-Rand will “bulk up its climate-control business.” The cash-and-stock offer “shows that while tighter credit markets have slowed down acquisitions activity, deals can still get done.”
Television: Late-night hosts to return to airWriters’ strike or not, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien plan to be back on the air Jan. 2, said Bill Carter in The New York Times. NBC announced this week that its two late-night hosts would return without writers, leaving them to write their own monologues. Still, their shows “may face a challenge in booking guests” since many actors sympathize with the strikers. David Letterman on CBS also wants to go back to work, but only if he can cut a deal with his writing team. Negotiations between the writers’ union and studios have been deadlocked over how writers should be paid for movies and shows distributed over the Internet.