Warren Buffett on May 17 agreed to purchase 63 newspaper properties for $142 million from Media General Inc. of Richmond, Va.
He told “Editor & Publisher” magazine that newspapers remain the institution of utmost importance in communities across the nation.
Buffet will combine the papers in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida with his Omaha World-Herald Co., creating BH Media Group.
The magnate said he may buy more newspapers.
“Any time we can add properties we like, to management we like, at a price we like, we’re ready to go," Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, told E&P. “In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper."
“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,” he said.
The largest newspapers in the acquired group are the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which sells about 115,000 copies on weekdays and 165,000 on Sundays, and the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, which sells about 58,000 copies daily and 76,000 on Sundays.
Terry Kroeger, president and CEO of The World-Herald, is president of BH Media Group.
“These newspapers are great institutions and powerful brands in their respective markets,” Kroeger said in a press release. “We are honored to have the opportunity to work with our new colleagues as we continue to produce top-notch news and advertising products in both print and digital platforms.”
When Berkshire bought The World-Herald for $200 million in December 2009, Buffet said, “I think newspapers...have a decent future. It won’t be like the past. But there are still a lot of things newspapers can do better than any other media. They not only can be sustained, but are important.”
Buffett has previously said that while newspapers are no longer the only source for some types of news, such as stock prices and major league sports scores, they still deliver news and advertising information that people can’t find elsewhere.
“The World-Herald tells me every day things that I can’t find out elsewhere,” Buffett said at a Berkshire stockholders’ meeting. “Most of those items, overwhelmingly, are local. They do tell me a lot about my city, about local sports, my neighbors, about things I want to know.”
Now, his newspapers will do the same throughout the Southeast.