Click here to read more about Berkshire Hathaway's recent newspaper acquisitions.
Click here for more World-Herald coverage of Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.
* * * * * *
For the second time this month, the Omaha World-Herald Co. announced that it plans to buy a Texas newspaper in a city that is home to a Big 12 university.
That doesn't necessarily mean future purchases will take place in Texas communities, in college towns or in cities with schools in the same athletic conference, said Terry Kroeger, CEO of The World-Herald. He also is president of BH Media Group of Omaha, the division of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that is assembling a portfolio of U.S. community newspapers.
The latest purchase is the Tribune-Herald of Waco, home of Baylor University. Earlier this month The World-Herald agreed to purchase the Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle newspaper, in the hometown of Texas A&M University.
“It's really more of a pattern of good community newspapers in markets with good economic factors,” Kroeger said Friday. “These happen to be two really, really important schools” that contribute strongly to their communities.
The Waco purchase is to close by July 31. The Eagle purchase is to be completed June 30. Purchase prices were not disclosed.
Kroeger, who was in Waco to meet with the Tribune-Herald's staff, said no other purchases are pending, although BH Media continues to look for other newspapers to buy.
Warren Buffett, CEO and chairman of Berkshire, has said he wants to buy more newspapers in communities with strong local connections because they continue to be good businesses. Berkshire purchased The World-Herald in December and last month agreed to buy 63 newspapers from Media General Group, a sale due to be completed next week.
The Tribune-Herald has about 100 employees and circulates about 34,000 copies daily and 39,000 on Sundays in the Waco area.
The Robinson family bought the paper in 2009, earning praise for returning the newspaper to local ownership for the first time in 33 years.
Kroeger said The World-Herald would have a working relationship with the Robinsons, who will continue to own the downtown building where the newspaper is located. Ownership by Berkshire is “the next best thing to local ownership” for a newspaper, Kroeger said. “You've got a quality owner that understands it.”
Clifton Robinson, chairman of Robinson Media LLC, which owns the Waco newspaper, said in a statement: “The Robinson family endeavors to always engage in win-win situations, and this announcement will prove to be a premier shining example.”
He said the buyers “bring status and security to our community heretofore unimagined.” He and his son, Gordon, bought the 120-year-old newspaper from Cox Enterprises of Atlanta.
The Robinsons had owned Nlasco Inc., a Waco-based property and casualty insurance firm and parent of National Lloyds Insurance Co. and American Summit Insurance Co. In 2007, Nlasco was bought by Affordable Residential Communities Inc. of Englewood, Colo.
“We enjoyed our three-year experience and comfortably return the press to experts, wishing continued success and good luck,” Clifton Robinson said.