Murdoch Considers Selling Dow Jones’ Stock-Market Indexing Unit

Dow Jones & Co. is considering selling its stock-market indexing business that includes the iconic Dow Jones Industrial Average, the WSJ reported Friday on its Web site, citing people familiar with the matter.

The sales process is being conducted by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), and opens up the possibility of a name change for the 125 year-old Dow Jones Industrial Index, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (NASDAQ:NWSA). Murdoch acquired the indexing business in late 2007 for $5.7 billion. The deal unfortunately, proved to be struck at a market top, with News Corp. writing down nearly $3 billion of the value of Dow Jones this year.

The basket of 30 stocks, known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, was introduced in 1884 by Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser, and officially launched in May 26, 1896. The index was designed to give investors a snapshot at overall market activity and consisted of only 12 stocks, of which only one, General Electric (NYSE:GE), has survived in today’s index.

It is unclear yet which companies are most interested in a purchase, the Journal said. Some potential candidates could include MSCI Inc. (NYSE:MXB), a former unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), financial news service Bloomberg LP, and the NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) exchange.

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