Tuesday, October 26News That Matters

Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire buys a financial tip sheet.

Rupert Murdoch is a buyer again. News Corp, his newspaper empire, acquired Investor’s Business Daily, a financial tip sheet popular with Wall Street traders and investors, for $275 million.

The deal signals a return to acquisitions after Mr. Murdoch spent the last few years slimming down and selling off parts of his businesses.

Little-known among everyday readers, Investor’s Business Daily has been a stalwart source of news for hard-core investors for decades. The stockbroker William J. O’Neil started the publication in 1984, and it was originally meant to compete with The Wall Street Journal (now a part of Mr. Murdoch’s empire). But it has remained an insider’s guide with limited appeal beyond the trading floor.

Investor’s Business Daily has turned into a largely digital publication. It has a website and several mobile apps in addition to its weekly print edition. It has a mix of free content along with data tools that cost hundreds of dollars a year as part of a subscription. The company has “nearly 100,000” online subscribers and is a growing and profitable business, according to News Corp.

The deal could help broaden Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper empire, which has been shrinking over the past few years as the news industry grapples with fading revenues as Google and Facebook siphon away the majority of online ad dollars.

“I have no doubt that IBD’s savvy digital products and journalism will significantly bolster profitability,” Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement announcing the deal.

The company has seen some bright spots. Dow Jones, the division that will manage the new acquisition and already includes The Journal, remains a robustly profitable business. Separately, Mr. Murdoch’s New York Post recently hit a rare milestone, becoming a profitable paper for the first time in recent memory.

News Corp has still had to make steep cuts across its newspaper empire, especially in Australia, Mr. Murdoch’s original home base. Staff at his Australian papers have been gutted and most of the operations have been turned into digital-only publications.