MarketWatch Shares Rise on Acquisition News

NEW YORK MarketWatch shares rose $1.33 or nearly 8 percent to close on the Nasdaq today at $18.12, following yesterday’s announcement that Dow Jones & Co. plans to buy the operator of and in an all-cash transaction valued at about $519 million.

Dow Jones’ stock closed on the New York Stock Exchange today at $45.10 per share, up 10 cents or 0.22 percent.

The acquisition, subject to customary regulatory approvals and the vote of MarketWatch shareholders, calls for New York-based Dow Jones to pay $18 per fully diluted common share. The deal, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2005, comes after a monthlong bidding war that included Yahoo! and The New York Times Co., according to reports.

New York-based MarketWatch, which serves 8 million unique visitors per month on its ad-supported sites and licenses content to financial services firms, media companies and corporations, will be integrated with Dow Jones Consumer Electronic Publishing. That business comprises free ad-supported vertical Web sites, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, licensing operations and The Wall Street Journal Online, which has 700,000 paid subscribers.

Combined, The Wall Street Journal network of sites and MarketWatch will have more than 9 million unduplicated unique visitors per month, positioning the company to further capitalize on double-digit growth in online advertising, Dow Jones said. MarketWatch has increased Web ad revenue 30 percent annually during the past two years, as has