Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to purchase 63 daily and weekly newspapers owned by Media General for $142 million, including titles in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. Separately, Berkshire took a 19.9 per cent stake in parent company Media General under an agreement to provide the firm with a $400 million term loan and a $45 million revolving credit line.
The announcement by Berkshire follows the company’s 2011 purchase of the Omaha World-Herald, Warren Buffett’s hometown paper.
“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Buffett said. “The many locales served by the newspapers we are acquiring fall firmly in this mould and we are delighted they have found a permanent home with Berkshire Hathaway.”
Media General has continually shifted from its reliance on print media as a revenue generator — with the company realising more than 87 per cent of its cash flows from its broadcast and digital businesses this political season.
“Selling our newspapers represents a monumental change for us,” Media General Chief Executive Marshall Morton said. “This single transaction for virtually all of our newspapers accelerates the timing of our strategy to focus on our broadcast television business and its future growth opportunities.”
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