Dow Jones & Co. , in talks for a takeover by News Corp., met with supermarket magnate Ron Burkle and Internet entrepreneur Brad Greenspan on Tuesday in an effort to find an alternative offer, a source familiar with the situation said.
Burkle and Greenspan met with members of an ad hoc committee of Dow Jones' board members in New York in the late afternoon on Tuesday to jointly discuss ideas for a rival bid.
They came and presented at least one idea for a possible transaction, the source said.
Further details of what occurred during the meeting were not immediately available, nor was it clear how Dow Jones board members responded to the ideas. Dow Jones declined comment. Burkle and Greenspan could not immediately be reached.
News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch has offered $5 billion, or $60 a share, for Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, as he plans to build a new business cable television channel.
The two sides had reached a basic agreement over protecting editorial independence at the Journal and other news operations in the event they are controlled by News Corp., but were still discussing several issues including price.
But while a deal with Murdoch appeared close, Dow Jones has still pushed to find other potential buyers to appease some members of its controlling Bancroft family, which owns 64 percent of the company's voting shares.
Media and investment executives have said a rival bid that could really challenge Murdoch was unlikely, particularly as the media tycoon was willing to pay a 65 percent premium to Dow Jones shares at their level before the bid was made public.
Burkle had been exploring a structure for Dow Jones that would incorporate an employee stock ownership plan, sources previously told Reuters.
Greenspan had separately made an offer to buy a 25 percent stake in Dow Jones at $60 per share in what he described as a partial buyout. Greenspan founded Intermix, home to the MySpace social network that was bought by News Corp. in 2005.
According to a report in the Journal, Greenspan sought to purchase up to half the stock in Dow Jones with the help of satellite provider EchoStar Communications and Intel Corp.'s investment arm.
(Additional reporting by Megan Davies)