Contrary to popular belief, Warren Buffett isn’t going to let one troubled newspaper diminish his view of buying what many experts in the media consider the fossils of the news business. Buffett actually plans to buy more newspapers, even though he recently told us that he’s going to shut down one of the newspapers that he bought by the end of this year.
“I hope we have a lot more,” said Warren Buffett when discussing his newspaper portfolio at a party attended Monday night with his longtime friend Carol Loomis, who is a writer for Fortune and recently published “Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966 – 2012.”
Warren Buffett went on a spending spree and bought newspapers this year, where he picked up roughly 60 from conglomerate Media General, and also picked up a small stake in the newspaper company Lee Enterprises, which is a chain of small daily newspapers based out of Iowa. During this time, he stressed to investors and the world that small news papers are going to have a major impact, and will be a solid investment for many decades still.
“I think newspapers in print form, in most of the cities and towns where they are present will be here in 10 and 20 years,” said Warren Buffett. “I think newspapers do a good job of serving a community where there is a lot of community interest.”
Also during this month, Doug Hiemstra, who is president of World Media Enterprises, a Berkshire Hathaway company, sent his staff a letter, letting his staff know that they would be shutting down The News and Messenger in Manassas, Virginia, by the end of the year.
He also wrote in his letter on November 14 that “The News and Messenger has lost money for a number of years under the Media General ownership, and after our team made an exhaustive review of The News and Messenger, we were unable to come up with a scenario that would result in a likelihood of profitable operations there.”
The company also announced that it would be cutting 105 jobs, mainly at The News and Messenger.
According to public filings, Berkshire Hathaway has also pared back its stake in Lee Enterprises.
Warren Buffett mentioned on Monday night during the reception that the Media General cuts were focused on that one troubled newspaper. He also mentioned that he plans to share more of his thoughts about the newspaper industry soon, and he’s working on a portion of his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders where he will discuss his take on the newspaper industry.