‘Newsday’ Win Looks Imminent for Murdoch

NEW YORK Rupert Murdoch has signaled he will be the owner of Newsday as early as next week.

During a News Corp. earnings call with analysts Wednesday, Murdoch said he was confident that he would be the owner of the Long Island, N.Y., paper for $580 million.

Newsday‘s Mark Harrington and Ellen Yan reported that during the call, Murdoch said, “This is a great market, and this will give us a very powerful position.”

Murdoch was sure that Cablevisions Systems’ bid of $650 million would not affect his offer. “No, I don’t think Cablevision will prevail. Just be patient a couple of days,” Murdoch said during the call.

New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman is expected raise his $580 million bid for Newsday.

Murdoch also said on the call that he expects the Melville, N.Y., daily to continue its local coverage: “We see Newsday continuing to be a very important local newspaper covering two of the greatest counties in America and wealthiest counties in America, and the Post covering basically the city of New York, a paper with a very different character.”

“We’re not putting them to be one newspaper. But there are great savings in printing and distribution and normal back office. There’s a lot we can do together and we’ll pursue that,” Murdoch added.

During the call, Murdoch also made the surprise announcement that the New York Post will increase its cover price from 25 to 50 cents starting May 19.

The Post tried raising its price a year ago, but 10 days later it went back to charging a quarter.