UPDATE: ‘Richmond Times-Dispatch’ sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

Media General, Inc. announced that it will sell its 63 print assets, which includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, to Berkshire Hathaway, the company founded by Warren Buffet.

rtd

Media General, Inc. announced that it will sell its 63 print assets, which includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, to Berkshire Hathaway, the company founded by Warren Buffet. Berkshire Hathaway will purchase the print assets (with the exception of the Tampa group) for $142 million in cash. The company will also provide Media General with a $400 million term loan and a $45 million revolving credit line.

The newspapers that are being purchased include daily and weekly titles in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, in addition to digital assets.

Full press release here.

Update:

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Berkshire Hathaway (BH) executives met with Times-Dispatch employees about the pending sale for approximately 30 minutes at newspaper’s headquarters downtown.

BH Media president, Terry Kroeger, informed employees that Warren Buffet regretted not being able to attend the meeting, but asked for Kroeger to convey that “he is so pleased about this” proposed sale.

When asked about how BH Media will operate the local paper, Kroeger said that he expects “blending ideas” between Richmond and BH.

Douglas Hiemstra, the BH executive who will head the transition in Richmond, said that it has been uncommon for BH to implement major cuts in staffing after a purchase.

In a release announcing the sale, Warren Buffet (who purchased his hometown newspaper the Omaha World-Herald last November) said:

“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” said Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. “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.”

The sale, pending government review, is expected to close June 25th. Berkshire Hathaway also owns the Buffalo News and is the largest shareholder of the Washington Post Co.

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7 comments on UPDATE: ‘Richmond Times-Dispatch’ sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

  1. This comes like a body blow. While I worked for Media General for 8 years, everybody I worked with supported the Newspaper Division. I know all the hard work, sometimes a lifetime’s worth, and dedication those people had. It’s the way business and no surprise to anybody still worked there. Some will be prepared others won’t be. To me it feels like a death in the family and a big chunk of my past has disappeared. The only reason the Tampa Tribune, where I also worked for 7 years, wasn’t sold is because it’s been bleeding cash for years. I expect they will be bought out and closed by the St. Pete (Now Tampa Bay) Times. It will be interesting to see what Warren Buffet brings to the table besides a lot of cash. He is accustomed to making money. I expect this is not the end of the road. Stay tuned.

  2. anon on said:

    My first thought was “maybe now it won’t be such an awful right-wing rag.” In all likelihood, though, it’ll remain as dire as it always has been.

  3. Hugh Jarse on said:

    Funny- my first thought was that MAYBE they’ll stop deleting reader comments that are the least bit critical of Eric Cantor once his wife is not on the ownership’s BoD.

  4. Jonathan Mallard on said:

    Ok… Let’s get this correct. Buffet DIDN’T “buy” RTD and 62 other newspapers. He’s “loaning” Media General $542 Million with a revolving credit line of another $45 Million. If you dig deep enough into the weeds, Warren is getting 10.5% interest on the $400 Million he’s loaning MG outright. Ergo, he gets ALL of the money back he’s paying for the papers in about 3.5 years. Oh yeah, he gets the papers too.

    Warren picks his carci very selectively.

    http://www.omaha.com/article/20120517/NEWS01/120519629#buffett-to-buy-63-newspapers

  5. anonymous on said:

    From urbansurvival.com:

    The Buffett Papers
    While I’m working on my book about the end of the internet, please note that Warren Buffett is now buying up papers, like those 63 of Media General down in Vahginia.

    Ask yourself “How long can government let a free-running internet survive if it questions everything from the president’s birthplace to whether foreclosures are legit, and whether paper money is corrupt and whether Washington’s been bought by corporations using arm’s length DC law firms, PACs and Super-PACs to do it?

    I propose the answer is not “Forever.” The WB may have come to that, too. One big T-attack and it could all be over for the internet ending in a near-miss for the rising of the global mass consciousness. The excuses would be wrapped up in flags and such, but a licensed/controlled press – on the pretext of protecting government and not giving comfort to the enemy – would probably be thought to play, except amongst those cogent enough to remember “…enemies, both foreign and domestic…”

    Around here, we do try to live by the old eastern European folk wisdom: “Tell the truth (or near as we can get at it) and leave shortly thereafter.”

  6. Aldous Snow on said:

    Total Revenue of the U.S. newspaper industry in 2011 : $23,900,000,000

    Total Revenue Of Google in 2011 : $36,500,000,000

  7. Will Traynor on said:

    My only hope is that the Richmond Times Dispatch will shed its right-wing skin and expose the likes of Morgan Griffith, Bob McDonnell, Cucinelli, Cantor and other right-wing idealogues who subverted the political process in Virginia for their personal gain. Lets start the debate about Congressman Morgan Griffith who does not, has not, and never will live in the district he rpresents in Congress. This arrogant (i know him personally) conservative actually believes that he knows what is best for a congressional district that he has never lived in. As we all know, he was basically appointed by the State party to run for Congress when there were many qualified Republicans who actually lived in the district their whole lives.

    Then perhaps a real Richmond paper will focus on the gerrymandered congressional districts drawn to ensure a Republican majority in the house delegation. Both Wolfe and Cantor’s districts are drawn to capture a majority for these two fools.

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