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GE, Microsoft discuss buying Dow Jones

General Electric Co. and Microsoft Corp. were in discussions in recent weeks to combine Dow Jones & Co. with some portions of GE's NBC Universal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The report quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that GE and Microsoft were discussing a competing $60-a- share offer for Dow Jones. One consideration for GE appears to be concern that the unsolicited bid by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to buy Dow Jones for $60 a share, or about $5 billion, could help News Corp.'s efforts to field a television financial-news channel that would compete with GE's CNBC, said the report.

Dow Jones has been exploring alternatives to Murdoch's offer, but those efforts have yet to yield another serious bidder. But the report also said the GE and Microsoft have not reached an agreement yet, adding the breakdown of the NBC-Microsoft talks will be a further sign that the options for Dow Jones may be narrowing. (