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New joint offer may emerge for Dow

Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle and Web entrepreneur Brad Greenspan are exploring the possibility of combining forces on a bid for Dow Jones & Co. to thwart a takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., according to a person familiar with the situation.

A committee of Dow Jones directors, including a representative for the Bancroft family that controls the company, was meeting yesterday afternoon in New York with Burkle and Greenspan.

The person asked not to be named because the discussion was in an early, exploratory phase. It was far from certain that a formal offer for the owner of The Wall Street Journal would follow.

A spokesman for Burkle's investment firm, the Yucaipa Cos., did not return messages seeking comment. Greenspan and a lawyer for the Bancroft family also did not return messages.

News Corp. has offered $60 a share for Dow Jones, which values the company at $5 billion and represented a 65 percent premium when the bid became public.

Dow Jones -- which owns the Journal, the Dow Jones stock indexes, Dow Jones Newswires, Barron's and SmartMoney magazines, the Ottaway community newspapers, and MarketWatch.com -- initially rebuffed the offer May 1. But later the Bancroft family said it was open to the idea and began negotiating.

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