Warren Buffett scooped up the Waco Tribune-Herald on Friday. The move to buy the 34,000-circulation daily comes less than a month after Buffett’s announcement that Berkshire Hathaway was purchasing the Bryan-College Station Eagle.
Miriam Gottfried of the Wall Street Journal unpacked Buffett’s newspaper strategy in a story Saturday for the paper:
While Mr. Buffett has been vocal about the secular deterioration of the newspaper business, he has expressed a belief that small, local papers have a strong future. And as an ultra-long-term investor, he likely has the stomach to navigate all of the digital turmoil before they get there.
While metropolitan dailies have been crushed by declining advertising and falling circulation, small-market papers have found some protection. Coverage of community events, local sports and local politics remains tough and expensive to replicate. And Mr. Buffett appears to have chosen papers with monopoly local positions.
Buffett has suggested that his papers will move to a paywall model. But this wouldn’t change much at the Tribune-Herald, which currently has a very extensive paywall in place.
Poynter‘s Steve Myers neatly summarized Buffett’s recent media acquisitions:
A year ago, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owned just The Buffalo News. He acquired The Omaha World-Herald and its associated properties in December. Since then he’s been on a spending spree: a bunch of papers from Media General, then the paper in College Station, and now Waco.
Robinson Media LLC, the Waco-based family business that currently owns the paper, purchased it from Cox Newspapers in 2009, the AP reported. This sale is expected to close by the end of July, at which point Berkshire Hathaway will own 89 papers, Myers wrote.