General Electric (GE) has said that it and publisher Pearson are not going to proceed with a rival takeover bid for US media group Dow Jones.
The Dow Jones owns the Wall Street journal
US conglomerate GE said its talks with the UK-based owner of the Financial Times had only been exploratory.
Analysts said the announcement further strengthens the likelihood that Dow Jones will accept Rupert Murdoch's $5bn (£2.5bn) offer.
This is so far the only bid on the table for the company.
Editorial independence fears
GE's announcement comes a day after Dow Jones directors said they would now take the lead in discussions with Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation directors.
Talks have so far been led on the Dow Jones side by the Bancroft family, which controls 64% of Dow Jones' voting rights.
They have described the meetings with Mr Murdoch as "constructive", but no further details have been released.
Mr Murdoch has already promised to establish "an independent, autonomous editorial board" for the Wall Street Journal if his bid for Dow Jones is accepted.
The main US share index is named after the Dow Jones company, and the parent company owns a wire service as well as providing financial information.
There has been a series of mergers in the financial information sector, most recently between Reuters and Thomson.