New York—Reportedly outbidding Yahoo!, the New York Times Co. and Viacom, Dow Jones & Co. announced Sunday that it has agreed to acquire MarketWatch for about $519 million in cash.
The move appears to signal a shift in Dow Jones’ long-time focus on providing paid Web content. The Online Journal has more than 700,000 paid subscribers. MarketWatch operates MarketWatch.com and BigCharts.com, which are free, ad-supported sites attracting about 8 million unique visitors per month.
Dow Jones said the deal better positions it to take advantage of the growth of online advertising.
"With this acquisition, Dow Jones will continue and strengthen its ‘best of both worlds’ approach, which includes both the subscription Wall Street Journal Online as well as Web sites that are free to users and supported by advertising," L. Gordon Crovitz, president of Dow Jones’ electronic publishing division, said in a statement.
The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2005.