Waco, Texas – Berkshire Hathaway, investing company owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, is once again expanding its division of newspapers. This time it is buying the Waco Tribune–Herald, which is the second newspaper that it is buying in the state of Texas.
Warren Buffett has been making it a point to purchase small and medium-sized newspapers in areas where there is a strong sense of community. He obviously believes that this is a very lucrative opportunity, and is trying to capitalize on all of the problems taking place with print media right now.
“This is a very strong, growing market with terrific assets including Baylor University and the new research park,” stated Terry Kroeger, who is the president of BH Media Group, as well as the CEO of the Omaha World-Herald Company.
The Waco Tribune-Herald is being sold by the company Robinson Media LLC. They are a family business in Waco who bought the company in 2009 from Cox Entertainment based out of Atlanta. There are currently 124 employees at this particular newspaper.
The official purchase date is planned to take place on July 31 of this year. The price of this purchase has not been disclosed at this point, so I cannot provide you any information in that area.
The current circulation for the daily newspaper of the Tribune-Herald is roughly 34,000 people. There Sunday circulation jumps up to 39,000 people. This is one of many newspapers that Warren Buffett already has a stake in as an investor.
He also believes that his company is going to buy a lot more newspapers over the next few years, but Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t plan on influencing the newspaper’s editorial policies whatsoever. So you can expect them to stay local community newspapers unaffected by Berkshire in any way, shape or form.
Berkshire Hathaway also announced that they were buying the Bryan-College Station Eagle in Texas as well earlier this month. They also already had a 3.2% stake in this newspaper before they decided to buy the entire thing.
There was a time where Buffett stated that the local newspaper was basically on its last legs. But he has come to obviously change his position regarding this topic and now he is a strong defender of the viability of these local newspapers.
He even believes they have an excellent future because they deliver community information that isn’t going to be available anywhere else. So there will always be a market for this type of local community news, and buying up newspapers like this is a very good investment from his perspective.
“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Mr. Buffett stated last month.
Terry Kroeger met with the staff of the Tribune-Herald recently just to ensure them that there aren’t any major changes being planned for the newspaper. He also wanted to ensure them that there aren’t any major layoffs coming as well since the employees are obviously going to be worried about that. His company plans on working with the managers in the Waco office to figure out what changes need to be made.
“The long-term fate of the Waco Trib is in better hands with professional newspaper people than it is left in the hands of the local community,” stated Clifton Robinson, chairman of Robinson Media.