Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buys 63 local newspapers

May 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM
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NEW YORK, May 17 (UPI) -- Media General said Thursday it has agreed to sell 63 regional newspapers to U.S. investor group Berkshire Hathaway for $142 million.

Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is not new to the newspaper business. Buffett has owned The Buffalo (N.Y.) News for years.

In spite of a very visible trend of the newspaper industry shrinking in the face of competition from the Internet, Buffett, who also owns his hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, said this month at an annual meeting of shareholders, "I think there is a future for newspapers in an area where there is a sense of community.

"We may buy more newspapers. I think the economics will be okay, but it will be nothing like the old days," Buffett said at the meeting, The New York Times reported.

"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," Buffett said in a statement Thursday.

The deal with Media General includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which began as the Confederacy-oriented Richmond Dispatch in 1850. It also includes the Manassas, Va., News and Messenger. But it does not include the Tampa, Fla., Tribune, which Media General said it would sell separately.

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