Warren Buffett buys 63 Media General papers for $142 million
Richmond, VA, United States (4E) – Investor Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A and BRK.B) is expanding its holdings in the newspaper business.
Its subsidiary, BH Media Group, will pay $142 million to buy a controlling interest in the Media General newspaper chain, which owns 63 daily and weekly papers in the southeastern United States. The deal does not include the Tampa Tribune.
In addition, BH Media will also loan Media General $400 million and give it a $45 million flexible credit line.
Buffet is investing in newspapers at a time when falling circulation and advertising revenue have put many local newspapers under financial pressure.
Berkshire already owns the Buffalo News, the Omaha World Herald and has a stake in the Washington Post.
Nevertheless, Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is upbeat about the future of newspapers.
“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Buffett said in a statement. “The many locales served by the newspapers we are acquiring fall firmly in this mold and we are delighted they have found a permanent home with Berkshire Hathaway.”
Media General is not getting out of the news business, but said that it had shifted its model toward its broadcast and digital businesses in recent years. After the sale of the 63 newspapers, Media General’s company operations will include the Tampa Tribune newspaper along with 18 network-affiliated television stations and their associated websites.