Warren Buffett announced he is selling the News & Record and the rest of BH Media to Lee Enterprises of Iowa for $140 million.
It’s a little surprising the story didn’t make the front page of the News & Record, but was relegated to B3, the business page, while an article that first ran over 20 years ago was included on the front.
In the rest of the country the sale was considered big news. USA Today, The New York Times, ABC News, even the Drudge Report, covered the story.
Lee was hired by BH Media about 18 months ago to manage the 31 dailies and 49 weekly newspapers in the group, so the sale was not a complete surprise.
But it does mean that Buffett, who was once a big proponent of print newspapers, has gone sour on the newspaper business.
The sale is expected to close in March and the real estate owned by BH Media is not part of the deal.
The News & Record facility, which covers several blocks on East Market Street in downtown Greensboro, is reportedly under contract for sale to Greg Dillon, who is also a partner in the development of the Westin Hotel, directly across Davie Street from the News & Record facility.
For months it has been rumored that the News & Record was about to vacate the facilities downtown, which dwarf the current small staff, and move to more suitable office space. Since the paper is now printed in Winston-Salem, the News & Record has no use for the large print facility that takes up a good portion of the property.
The Winston-Salem Journal is also owned by BH Media and is part of the sale.
Newspaper consultants have speculated that because Lee has been operating BH Media for 18 months, the sale won’t result in major layoffs as has happened after other newspaper sales. However, they did say that some additional layoffs could be expected.