Rupert Murdoch said today he hoped to be welcomed as the new owner of the Wall Street Journal within two to three weeks "or not at all".

The News Corporation chairman and chief executive, speaking to Reuters on a visit to Poland, said he expected final approval from the paper's custodians, the Bancroft family, to come within that timescale.

But he added that he had no plans to raise his $5bn (£2.5bn) bid for the Journal's parent company, Dow Jones.

The Bancrofts hold a controlling stake in Dow Jones and are anxious that Mr Murdoch guarantees the Journal's editorial independence and integrity in the event of a takeover. "Everything is done. We are just waiting for a final approval of the Bancroft family," Mr Murdoch told Reuters today in Warsaw.

"The final approval is in the next two, three weeks' time or not at all."

Asked if News Corp planned to raise its bid, which was first made in April, Mr Murdoch said it did not.

Dow Jones's board is sounding out the Bancrofts on the latest proposals from News Corp to safeguard the Journal. The board, which has taken over negotiations from the Bancrofts, has agreed an editorial structure with News Corp.

Mr Murdoch's suggested model on how key editors will be guaranteed autonomy is thought to be very similar to the structure he created at the Times and Sunday Times and includes an independent editorial board.

Achieving the sale of Dow Jones still depends on the support of the 35-strong Bancroft clan, who between them own 64% of the company's voting shares.

Although the family initially resisted a sale and some remain sceptical, they agreed to meet Mr Murdoch and his son James, the BSkyB chief executive, in New York earlier this month.

Mr Murdoch was in Poland to meet the prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, to discuss a TV station in which he has taken a stake.

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