Warren Buffett Newspaper Purchase

In 2013, Warren Buffett bought 28 daily papers at $344 million. Buffett feels that newspapers offer local news when they focus on one particular trend in that hometown. Buffett feels that the circulation, the ability to advertise, as well as the ability to make a profit are compromised and in decline. The newspapers acquired in 2013 fell short of certain needs Berkshire Hathaway has for specific types of businesses that are acquired. Before the beginning of television or the Internet, newspapers were the only source of information a person had. The Internet makes paper less of a requirement in the modern age.

In 2012, Buffett had bought Media General for $142 million, while undermining a deal with Meredith, a company that still owned print magazines, which in fact, had merged with Nexstar Broadcasting Group. Buffett had invested in newspapers such as The Martinsville Bulletin, and The Franklin News-Post in Rocky Mount Virginia, from Haskell Newspapers last year (2015). This made the total of Berkshire owned newspapers at 32. Newspapers are about what is going on in your hometown. Buffett’s investment may be a signal that value of newspapers has gone down significantly. In 2017, Berkshire Hathaway’s Media Group decided to slash 300 jobs nationwide while leaving Buffett’s opinion out of the decision-making process.

Newspapers are struggling with a long-term decline in print revenue since more people are saving trees by going online for their news. This is called the Great Digital Disruption. Buffett knows how to keep up with technological advances of any particular point in an economy with historical precedents. In 2012-2016, daily circulation had a major decline. Ensuring a newspapers’ sustainability can be difficult. These days, newspaper readership is counted in page views. When a page view goes up, a newspaper is capable of surviving changing times.

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