When Warren Buffett announced that his company, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B), was buying 63 newspapers from Media General on May 17, he issued a soaring statement about his belief in a beaten-down industry.
“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Buffett said. “The many locales serviced by the newspapers we are acquiring fall firmly in this mold, and we are delighted they have found a permanent home with Berkshire Hathaway.”
Many see the deal as a rare expression of faith by an important investor in an industry that Wall Street has shunned. “It’s obvious … that this is a statement that local newspapers are going to be around for a while,” veteran newspaper industry analyst Ed Atorino of Benchmark told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a Media General paper.