Lee Enterprises, a publicly traded media conglomerate, is officially expanding its footprint in the U.S. with the acquisition of 30 local newspapers from Warren Buffett’s media company.
Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s holding company, said in January that it would sell BH Media Group (BHMG), effectively moving Buffett out of the media business.
With its $140 million purchase of BHMG, Lee Enterprises has gained control of 77 publications in 77 different communities including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey, The Buffalo News in New York and the Omaha World-Herald.
“Lee looks forward to leveraging our deep knowledge of this portfolio to drive further efficiencies across our expanded and integrated operation,” said Kevin Mowbray, president and CEO, in a statement. “This transition, which is already underway, is underpinned by shared values and an alignment around our mission to deliver high-quality local news.”
Buffett’s exit from the media industry raises questions as to the plans of the other billionaires who have entered this realm, including Marc and Lynne Benioff, who bought Time magazine from Meredith in 2018; Jeff Bezos, who purchased The Washington Post in 2013; Laurene Powell Jobs, who acquired a majority stake of The Atlantic through Emerson Collective in 2017; and Patrick Soon-Shiong, who finalized his purchase of The Los Angeles Times last year.
Their ownership and ability to monetarily invest in their media organizations bodes well for an industry too reliant on advertising dollars, as media companies continue to try and compete with social media platforms and tech organizations that have long attracted digital ad dollars.