Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
headquarters: 200 liberty st.
new york, ny 10281 phone: (212)416-2000 fax: (212)416-4348 url: http://www.dowjones.com
Dow Jones is a multinational media company specializing in business news. It is best known for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of stock prices based on leading companies traded on Wall Street. Print publications include the company's flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and Barron's magazine. An international empire with offices in the financial centers of Europe and Asia, Dow Jones & Company Inc. is divided into three industry segments: financial information services, business publishing, and general-interest community newspapers.
In early 1998 stockholders on record included 12,100 common stockholders and 4,600 holders of non-traded class B common stock. Dividends of $.96 per share were paid in 1996 and 1997. In 1997 the company's stock ranged from a low of $33 3/8 to a high of $55 7/8. A 1997 net loss of $802.1 million was incurred ($8.36 per common share) compared to 1996 earnings of $190 million ($1.96 per common share). Revenue in the same period increased 4 percent to $2.6 billion.
In its February 1997 exposé on the rift within the family who owns the governing shares in Dow Jones, Fortune magazine enumerated numerous mistakes made by the company's management in the 1980s. The list included a number of previously missed opportunities in the area of television, an arena the company entered in the 1990s. Observers in the financial world have sounded tones of amazement and sometimes disgust at what is perceived as the overly cautious management style at Dow Jones; hence Fortune observed that Dow Jones "has seemed for years to operate in a world utterly unlike the one judged in [The Wall Street Journal's] pages."
Dow Jones is optimistic regarding earnings from its business publishing segment, primarily from advertising rate increases. The company stated that its 1998 results will be enhanced by television operations and IDD Enterprises, a Dow Jones wholly owned subsidiary.
In 1882 reporters Charles Dow and Edward Jones formed a financial news agency in a small basement office near the New York Stock Exchange. Dow and a third reporter, Charles Bergstresser, wrote the news, and Jones edited it; the handwritten stories were then delivered to Wall Street subscribers. Within a year they had named their newspaper the Customer's Afternoon Letter. Charles Dow had meanwhile developed a stock price index called the Dow Jones Average, and the paper soon ran the daily average as a standard feature. In 1889, when the paper was renamed The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones opened its first out-of-town bureau, with Clarence Barron, founder of Barron's magazine, as its head. In 1902, Barron purchased the company, and his descendants continued to own a sizable portion of its stock in 1997.
The turn of the century brought the Dow Jones News Service or "broadtape," a ticker stock market information service delivered to subscribers over telegraph lines. In the 1920s the ticker would become a symbol of Wall Street and its rapid growth. During that era Dow Jones grew too, with the establishment of Barron's in 1921 and the spread of broadtape service through the nation's major cities. Thus Dow Jones was in a position to be hard hit by the crash of 1929 and the ensuing Depression, a period when the Wall Street Journal's subscription rate plummeted.
After weathering the 1930s and entering the 1940s with strategic changes in its methods of operation, Dow Jones continued to grow steadily. In 1967 it entered a joint venture with the Associated Press, creating the APDow Jones Economic Report, which enabled it to extend its financial information to larger markets around the globe. During the decades that followed, the world of Dow Jones was dominated by two apparently conflicting themes: progress in technical innovation and conservatism in corporate strategy. In 1997 a rift among Clarence Barron's heirs brought these concerns to the forefront again.
Although Dow Jones began in New York, its leadership clearly understood that the term Wall Street does not simply refer to the street in New York, but to the whole world of finance. Thus, the business community throughout the nation would need up-to-date information on activities in the stock markets of New York and, in turn, New York's financial leaders needed updates on what was going on in the rest of the world. These needs led to the rapid spread from its Wall Street origins to the Boston branch headed by Clarence Barron and subsequent widespread use of broadtape in the 1920s, which linked the nation's market centers in a network of information. In the 1940s The Wall Street Journal's managing editor Bernard Kilgore adopted a strategy that the paper continued to follow five decades later—offering a national perspective on the news, rather than one confined to a specific area. Thus under Kilgore's guidance the paper's Pacific Coast Edition, which had featured entirely different stories than its Eastern parent, was brought into alignment with the national edition.
Dow Jones' clientele, business people around the world, required continual attention to innovations in information technology. In 1971, long before widespread access to what became known as the information super-highway, the company introduced the Dow Jones News/Retrieval Service, which made it possible for subscribers to obtain current information via their computers.
Perhaps the single greatest influence on the fortunes of Dow Jones has been the family that inherited a large share of the company from their forebear, Clarence Barron. (In 1997 the Barron heirs owned 42 percent of the company.) For years the heirs maintained what Fortune in February 1997 called "the coziest partnership between a family and a publicly held company in America." The heirs of Clarence Barron maintained a conservative strategy in both daily operations and in financial management. Thus, unlike other well-known newspaper families, they seldom interfered in the daily affairs of The Wall Street Journal, leaving it to the journalists to run. Likewise, when it came to the boardroom the family trusted management to make the decisions.
In many ways, the influence of the Barron family (few family members still carried Clarence's surname) was a positive one. In the case of the newspaper, their hands-off ownership style permitted it to become one of the leading national dailies—a paper that, unlike many competitors, tends to take the side of business and free enterprise on its editorial page. Also, the patriarchal control of the larger enterprise helped keep Dow Jones safe in the 1980s, when many other venerable old companies fell victim to hostile takeovers.
Barron's heirs reigned with caution and stability, but the negative side of their strategy was apparent in the company's growth from 1986 to 1996. In that decade, sales increased from $1.13 billion a year to almost $2.48 billion—more than double—but profits stayed almost the same: $183 million in 1986 and $190 million ten years later.
When Barron's great-granddaughter Bettina Bancroft died in May 1995, leadership passed to a new generation led by Bancroft's daughter Elizabeth "Lizzie" Goth, who was born in 1965. Goth and her cousins wanted to know why stocks were performing so poorly, and they began to challenge the governing philosophy of Dow Jones. No longer did they see the company as (in the words of one past statement to shareholders) "a quasi-public trust." They were determined to see the company become more profitable, and if that meant getting rid of ambitious and ultimately unsuccessful enterprises, they were willing to do so. Goth's strategy made plenty of enemies in the family, but it also brought her some allies. In 1997 market analysts began to closely watch this family feud for signs of the company's future direction.
FAST FACTS: About Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Ownership: Dow Jones is a publicly owned company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ticker symbol: DJ
Officers: Kenneth L. Burenga, Pres., COO, & Director, 53, 1997 base salary $590,000; Carl M. Valenti, Sr. VP, 59, 1997 base salary $453,000; Peter G. Skinner, Sr. VP, 53, 1997 base salary $435,000
Employees: 12,300 (approximately one-quarter based outside the United States)
Principal Subsidiary Companies: Dow Jones has a vast base of affiliates, licensees, and subsidiary companies including Dow Jones Markets; IDD Enterprises, L.P.; and a worldwide television alliance with NBC.
Chief Competitors: Competitors of Dow Jones include: Bloomberg L.P., a financial news and data company, magazine publisher, and operator of national television, radio, and newspaper wire services; New York Times, a media and communications conglomerate with interests in newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, and information services; and Reuters Group PLC, a general news agency and financial information distributor.
With the ascendancy of Lizzie Goth and her faction, the Dow Jones board of directors is more aggressive and more oriented toward growth than in the mid-1990s. Fortune magazine, notable for its coverage of the dispute between the heirs of Charles Barron, offered speculation in February 1997 as to possible choices for future boards; most of the named individuals came from information industry leaders such as Microsoft and Intel.
The company, always a leader in the field of electronic information, has continued to offer new electronic products such as The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, introduced in 1996. During 1997 Dow Jones, along with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), entered into an international business alliance. In the United States the company reported that a multiyear licensing agreement to supply business news programming had been made with CNBC, an overseas operation. In 1998 Dow Jones, along with primary exchanges in France, Germany, and Switzerland, began a series of indexes that track the performance of certain European equities, as well as gauge the market performance of countries that are expected to join the European Monetary Union.
Dow Jones' products include the following information services: Dow Jones Markets, Dow Jones News Service, Dow Jones 90-Day News/Retrieval, AP-Dow Jones News Service, Capital Markets Report, Asian Equities Report, and Emerging Markets Report. Among its business publications, the most prominent is The Wall Street Journal, which also has international editions, The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Asian Wall Street Journal, as well as The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, used in 3,600 schools nationwide. The Journal offers new regional coverage in New England. Magazines include Barron's, Far Eastern Economic Review, and American Demographics. The company owns a number of smaller enterprises, including Ottaway Newspapers Inc., a group of 19 local dailies that make up Dow Jones' "community newspapers" division.
The company's business unit, Dow Jones Interactive Publishing is a leading publisher of electronic business and financial news, delivering to customers via personal computers, fax machines, and radio. Two radio programs are offered: The Wall Street Journal Report on AM and The Dow Jones Report on FM.
Seventy-three percent of Dow Jones' income in 1997 came from the United States. Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa made up 14 percent; Asia and the Pacific, 9 percent; and other regions, 2 percent.
Dow Jones has operations in Canada, Panama, the Bahamas, Chile, and other parts of the Americas; the United Kingdom, Ireland, and much of western Europe; Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia; Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the Pacific; and South Africa.
THE WALL STREET SHUFFLE
What exactly is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)? The DJIA is an index computed by totaling the stock prices of 30 major U.S. industrial companies and dividing it by a number that accounts for stock-split distortions over the years. Want to know what happened to the price of the 30 stocks in the DJIA today? Don't look at the average itself but at the percentage change in the Dow on a specific day. Over 100 years old, the DJIA is the best-known market indicator in the world. The industrial average started out using 12 companies in 1896, and it was upped to 20 companies in 1916. The 30-stock average appeared in 1928, and although the number has since remained the same, companies are added and deleted from time to time. When choosing a new company to add, they look for a history of successful growth along with interest among investors. The most common reason for changing a stock is that something significant is happening to the company, such as being bought out by another company. In 1991 Walt Disney replaced USX Corp., J.P. Morgan replaced Primerica Corp., and Caterpillar replaced Navistar. Some stocks have bounced in and out of the DJIA, particularly General Electric, which has been included three times, and taken out twice. Similarly, U.S. Rubber and Du Pont have been included in the average more than once. So, just how high can the DJIA climb? There is no limit to how high it can go.
Dow Jones began a cost-reduction program, which resulted in the firing of 200 to 300 employees, primarily at its subsidiary, Dow Jones Market. Nevertheless, the company has a strong employee benefits package, and lists available jobs at its web site. Full-time employment of 12,309 employees in 1997 was an increase of 3.9 percent from 1996 when employees totaled 11,844.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
baumohl, bernard, et. al. "more bad news for dow jones." time, 31 march 1997.
carvell, tim. "the owners are restless." fortune, 17 february 1997.
"dow jones." hoover's online, 8 june 1998. available at http://www.hoovers.com.
"dow jones: a brief history" and "a guide to dow jones' business segments." new york: dow jones & co., 1997. available at http://www.dowjones.com.
nocera, joseph. "heard on the street." fortune, 3 february 1997.
For an annual report:
on the internet at: http://www.dowjones.com
For additional industry research:
investigate companies by their standard industrial classification codes, also known as sics. dow jones' primary sics are:
4832 radio broadcasting stations
4833 television broadcasting stations
6289 security/commodity services, nec
7372 prepackaged software
7383 news syndicates