London--Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd. is mulling a bid for Ziff-Davis, according to a report from the Reuters news service, which cited a Sunday article in the Observer
newspaper. The bid was said to be $1.5 billion, which, if true, would be significantly less than the $3 billion that some stock analysts had speculated the business media company might be worth. Softbank Corp., Tokyo, Ziff-Davis' majority shareholder, placed the company up for sale in July, explaining that it wanted to focus on the pure Internet companies in its portfolio. In the first half of 1999, Ziff-Davis' print ad pages declined 21.49% and its ad revenue fell 8.39% compared with the same period last year, according to Adscope, an ad tracking firm. Ziff-Davis' revenue fell 3.9% year-over-year in 1998 to $1.1 billion. Ziff-Davis issued a press release on Monday stating that "the process has not yet moved to the stage where there are active negotiations with any particular entity to sell the company or any part of the company."