Media General has almost left the newspaper business, with a $142 million sale of 63 daily and weekly titles in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. The only remaining print property for Media General to unload is “The Tampa Tribune,” whose sale is now under discussion with other parties.
Media General will now focus on its 18 TV stations and their “future growth opportunities, including digital content and Mobile DTV,” according to President/CEO Marshall Morton.
The sale to Buffet seems to herald a new trend, according to Gawker's Hamilton Nolan: the middling-sized newspaper chain as the "play toy" of the super-rich. "The boring mid-range of the newspaper industry has been shown its road to salvation," he writes. "Because whereas it's always been known implicitly that no matter how dire the economic straits of the New York Times or the Washington Post became, there would always be some superrich savior out there willing to step in and save them for the social and political prestige alone, less glamorous papers have never had such an assurance. But now a whole new world of possibility is opening up."