MEDIA: Harper & Row . . . & Rupert

Harper & Row . . . & Rupert

His $2.7 billion communications empire already straddles three continents and, via satellite, reaches into space. Still, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch detected a weak spot: no major U.S. publishing house. Meanwhile, 170-year-old Harper & Row, which has published authors ranging from Mark Twain to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, was the target of at least two takeover bids. Without so much as a rumor, Murdoch swept in with a bid of $65 a share, clobbering a $34 offer from Magazine Publisher Theodore Cross and the $50 price proposed by rival publisher Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Harper & Row quickly accepted the $300 million deal last week.

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