A reported deadline for members of the Bancroft family -which controls 64 per cent of Dow Jones's voting power-to voice their agreement to the deal came and went with no public announcement.
As the clock ticked, News Corp. said it was "highly unlikely" it would proceed with its 60-dollar-a-share offer for Dow Jones at the reported present level of support of the controlling Bancroft family.
"If the votes were to remain at present reported levels, it is highly unlikely that we would proceed the offer," a News Corp. spokesperson, who requested anonymity,
But the Journal said the two sides had moved slightly closer to a deal as some Bancroft family advisers and Dow Jones board members "scrambled for enough votes to ensure the sale of the publisher to News Corp."
"Everyone is sticking to their guns in the hope that Murdoch will come up with more money," one person involved in the process was quoted as saying.
News Corp. has scheduled a board meeting at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) "and a decision by the company on whether to proceed and seek a full Dow Jones share holder vote to approve a deal is expected to come then, if not sooner," the Journal said.