Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has purchased 63 newspapers from Media General, a $142 million deal that includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal. Berkshire Hathaway isn’t new to the newspaper business. It already owns Buffalo News (New York), has a stake in the Washington Post, and owns the Omaha World-Herald.
Berkshire Hathaway has also extended a $445 million loan/line of credit to Media General, which could lead to a 20 percent stake in the company. Media General still owns its Tampa, FL papers, including the Tampa Tribune.
“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Buffett said. But he’s also looking at the bottom line. With the diminished sale price, Berkshire Hathaway could also make a pretty penny on his investment.
One analyst, Barry Lucas from Gabelli & Co, says the deal is “certainly in keeping with the type of financial transaction Warren’s known for.”
Berkshire Hathaway is also the parent company for news distribution company Business Wire.