Warren Buffett buys 89 local newspapers – eschews larger publications

Warren Buffett made good Thursday on his promise to buy more newspapers, agreeing to buy 63 daily and weekly newspapers in the Southeast for $142 million from financially troubled Media General Inc. of Richmond, Va.

The newspapers, in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida, would be combined with the Omaha World-Herald Co. into a new Berkshire Hathaway Inc. division called BH Media Group. They would be managed by World Media Enterprises, a new sister company of The World-Herald.

“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” said Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire, in a press release. “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.”

And Buffett said Thursday he may buy more newspapers.

via Omaha World-Herald


And, a week later he followed through:

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc has announced it is purchasing 26 local papers, all locals. In a letter to the publishers, Buffett said that the papers would need to focus as much as possible on local issues rather than try to compete on national ones. More interestingly, Buffett weighed in on the perennial issue of whether newspapers can give away their news online:

“We must rethink the industry’s initial response to the Internet. The original instinct of newspapers then was to offer free in digital form what they were charging for in print. This is an unsustainable model and certain of our papers are already making progress in moving to something that makes more sense. We want your best thinking as we work out the blend of digital and print that will attract both the audience and the revenue we need.”

via The Verge



// Photo – Hamed Saber

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