Buffett’s Bet On Dow

Buffet_8.15.jpgBillionaire Warren Buffett, who has been critical of the future prospects of print newspapers, disclosed that Berkshire Hathaway has a small stake in Dow Jones. According to The WSJ: “Berkshire owned 2.78 million Dow Jones shares valued at $159.8 million as of June 30, according to a securities filing for the second quarter. With about 85.85 million shares of Dow Jones outstanding, Berkshire’s stake would be just over 3%.

“Mr. Buffett was unavailable to comment. Marc Hamburg, Berkshire’s chief financial officer, said Berkshire didn’t request confidential filing status for disclosure of the stake, meaning Berkshire bought the shares between the end of March and the end of June. Mr. Hamburg didn’t disclose the price at which Berkshire bought the shares.”

The announcement comes as a surprise because at a 2006 Berkshire Hathaway Annual meeting, Buffett expressed skepticism that circulation or ad pages at most newspapers would be larger in five years than they are now. However, at a press conference in May reported on by Marketwatch, Buffett attributed the attractiveness of The Wall Street Journal to a multibillionaire like Rupert Murdoch to a non-economic “B Factor,” involving the prestige of the institution. “The B factor at Dow Jones is huge, probably second only to The New York Times in the whole world.”

— Ron Mwangaguhunga