Dow Jones seeks buyers for indexes

Media company is looking for potential buyers for its stock index business, which owns the Dow Jones industrial average.

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By David Goldman, staff writer

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NEW YORK ( -- Dow Jones & Co. is looking to sell its stock-market index business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dow Jones, which was purchased by News Corp. (NWS, Fortune 500) in 2007, owns a basket of stock market indexes, each of which average a group of stocks to determine market trends.

The best known of all the indexes is the Dow Jones industrial average. The group of 30 stocks, often referred to as "the Dow," is one of the most commonly used major indicators for blue-chip stocks like Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500), Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500), Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) and Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) among others. But, if sold, the index could bear the name of its new owner.

Dow Jones has owned and operated the industrial average since the index's founding in 1884. Other indexes include transportation, real estate and technology averages.

The sales process for the unit is being conducted by Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), and potential buyers include former Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) unit MSCI, Bloomberg and NYSE Euronext (NYX, Fortune 500), according to the report. But the Journal report said a sale of the unit is still in its preliminary stages and not yet a sure thing.

News Corp. no longer reports revenue for the index unit, but it had sales of $101 million in the third quarter of 2007 -- the last time Dow Jones reported results as an independent company. The report estimated that the value of the unit stands around $700 million.

A spokesman for Dow Jones said the company does not comment on speculation. To top of page

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