- Berkshire Hathaway sold its newspaper portfolio to Lee Enterprises at a loss.
- But Warren Buffett will continue to make money on the deal long after the sale.
- That’s because Berkshire is financing Lee Enterprises ’acquisition.
Long before he became the globally renowned “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett worked as a newspaper delivery boy. In 2020, he revealed that he delivered half a million newspapers as a teenager [Berkshire Hathaway]. Over seven decades later, Buffett’s love affair with newspapers seems to have ended.
On Wednesday, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) announced that it will dispose of its newspaper business [Global Newswire] held under the BH Media Group umbrella. The move will see dailies and other publications sold at a price of $ million to Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE).
Is Berkshire Hathaway selling its newspapers at a loss?
The Warren Buffett-led investing conglomerate acquired of these titles in the early s at a cost of $ 375 million. Berkshire Hathaway’s newspaper business generated
$ million in profits in 2019, according to Business Insider.
On the surface it may seem like a bad deal. Who sells a profitable business for a price that’s at least $ million lower than what it was acquired for? There’s more to it though.
Berkshire Hathaway could actually make more money on the deal than it would have if it continued its hold on to the newspaper business.
How is that, you ask? Well, Berkshire Hathaway is financing Lee Enterprises ’acquisition costs and its existing debt!
. Assuming profits were constant in the declining business, which is highly unlikely, that beats the $ million Berkshire Hathaway would have generated based on 231166 ‘s profits (assuming the best-case scenario).
The other way Warren Buffett will continue to milk Lee Enterprises…
This isn’t the only way Buffett will continue to make money off assets he has already sold. The investing conglomerate will lease BH Media Group’s real estate to Lee Enterprises for a period of ten years. The news organization will pay $ 8 million annually for the real estate. The figure could go down after one year. Lee Enterprises will be responsible for maintenance and other expenses incurred on the real estate over the lease period.
It remains to be seen whether that’s a good deal for Lee Enterprises. After the announcement, LEE jumped 90%. On Friday, the stock was down 1% following a sharp correction during the previous session.