Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) Media group will acquire Roanoke Times, to boost its small but growing newspapers unit.
Buffett’s BH Media Group Will Take Over The Newspaper
According to both the companies, the BH Media Group, owned by billionaire businessman Warrant Buffett, will take over the newspaper from Landmark Media Enterprise.
Prior to Roanoke Times, BH Media Group also acquired newspapers in Bristol, Charlottesville, Danville, Lynchburg and Richmond in the recent years. BH Media Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B).
“On day one, other than there being a story about the paper being sold, they’re not going to see any difference,” said Terry Kroeger, CEO of BH Media Group.
Debbie Meade who is the publisher of Roanoke Times declared his early retirement from the newspaper at the time the announcement of the sale was made to around 300 employees. Meade was with Roanoke Times since 2007. Terry Jamerson who is the operating vice president of BH Media Virgina Community Newspaper group will be appointed as the new publisher.
The average daily circulation of Roanoke has been 67,000 and 85,000 on Sundays. The sale price of the company has not been announced yet.
In January 2008, Landmark Communications, which was the parent company of Roanoke, stated that it has roped in national investment firms to look into the selling of Roanoke, Norfolk and Greensboro N.C.
Print readership declining
The announcement of the takeover is coming at the time when there is steep fall in the print readership, and the advertising revenues are becoming very less. The print companies are following extreme steps of cutting on the staff in many areas. In cities like New Orleans and Detroit, the daily newspapers are no longer published seven days a week.
Warren Buffett thinks otherwise
Buffett however, has a different perspective and mentioned in the recent annual report to shareholders that though newspapers are down in their popularity after the rising use of television, the internet and the 24 hour news cycle, they are a basic part of the communities.
The billionaire also said that newspaper is numero uno when it comes to the delivery of local news. He said that for getting aware with what is going on in town from the news about mayor or taxes or high school football there is no alternative for the local newspaper.
Including this buy, the portfolio of BH media consists of a total of 30 daily newspapers and other weekly papers in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida. The Roanoke Times has been searching for a potential buyer for the past five years.