It will also add to Murdoch's sprawling media empire - from the Fox television stations and MySpace online social network to The Times of London and The New York Post.

Peter Bibb, a media analyst, said: "Rupert Murdoch basically put his offer on the table, took a step back and played a wonderful winning game of poker. Not doing anything that would antagonise the Bancrofts or other Dow Jones shareholders.

The buyout wil also aid the launch of a Fox business channel later this year.

Bibb said: "This is the capstone of his [Murdoch's] career as the number one media mogul in the world right now and it was something that he has wanted to do for a very long time".

The companies said the boards of both companies have approved the deal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dow Jones shareholders will receive $60 in cash for each share of common stock or Class B common stock that they own.

Either a Bancroft family member or another "mutually acceptable person" is to be appointed to the News Corp board.

A five-member committee is also be set up to oversee the editorial independence of Dow Jones's news operations.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, the companies said.