Who Owns the News Media Database -- A Summary of Findings

Jun 26, 2012

In May, 2012 Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Company announced the purchase of 63 newspapers, including 23 dailies, from the debt-ridden Media General Company. The transaction was a course reversal for Buffett, who earlier had said he wouldn't buy newspapers, and created a major new player in the industry. It also left Media General-whose history with newspapers dates back to the mid-1800's-with only one remaining daily, the Tampa Tribune, which many predict it will still try to sell.

The purchase, seen as a rare vote of confidence in a struggling industry, also capped a period of intense change in U.S. newspaper ownership. In the last 18 months many better known newspaper companies divested most or all of their holdings while a number of new entities, including hedge funds and private equity firms, jumped in.

According to the investment banking firm of Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, which monitors newspaper transactions, a total of 71 daily newspapers were sold as part of 11 different transactions during 2011, the busiest year for sales since 2007.

Read the full report, Who Owns the News Media Database -- A Summary of Findings, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism website.

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