Warren Buffett buys Tulsa World

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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013 12:00 am

Warren Buffett's newspaper group said Monday it would buy the Tulsa (Okla.) World daily newspaper.

BH Media Group, a division of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is to purchase the newspaper for an undisclosed amount from the Lorton family of Tulsa, which has owned the World for four generations. The sale is to close in March.

The World circulates 95,000 copies on weekdays and 133,000 on Sundays. It is the second-largest newspaper in Oklahoma, after the Daily Oklahoman of Oklahoma City. The World's web site, Tulsaworld.com, is the best-read website in the Tulsa area.

Terry Kroeger, CEO of Omaha-based BH Media Group, said the World is “a special newspaper in an outstanding market.”

Today's front page of the Tulsa World

“This is a great fit for our company, and we look forward to continuing the long-standing tradition of outstanding journalism for this region,” said Kroeger, who also is publisher of The World-Herald.

Robert E. Lorton Jr., chairman of World Publishing Co., said, “The newspaper business has become a difficult business model within a changing society and in particular for local family-owned newspapers. BH Media Group presents the best opportunity to continue a local paper that will serve this community, our friends and neighbors.”

He praised BH Media Group's strong commitment to local news and community engagement.

“We see this is as a positive step for Tulsa and the Tulsa World,” Lorton said. “BH Media has the breadth and depth of commitment to support the dedicated employees of the World in the changing journalistic world in which we now live.

“This sale will strengthen the role of the World in this marketplace and assures a secure future for a local Tulsa World newspaper and, important to the Lorton family, an exciting future for our employees.”

Warren Watch chat, 11:30 a.m. Tuesday: Discuss all thing Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway with World-Herald staff writer Steve Jordon

The World would be the 28th daily newspaper owned by BH Media, which also owns 40 newspapers published once, twice or three times a week, plus shoppers, monthly publications and regional magazines and related online publications.

Tulsa has 400,000 people, out of a metropolitan population of nearly 1 million. It is nicknamed “Oil Capital of the World” after its heritage with the petroleum industry, although its current motto is “A New Kind of Energy.”

Find more World-Herald coverage of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway on our Warren Watch page.

From its economic base in the energy industry, the city has diversified into finance, aviation, telecommunications and technology. Its Arkansas River port is the nation's most inland port with access to international waterways.

The city is home to Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa. BusinessWeek magazine last year ranked Tulsa as one of the 50 best cities in America.

The World has been Tulsa's only daily newspaper since the Tulsa Tribune closed in 1992. The Daily World was first published in 1905. Eugene Lorton joined the paper soon after and became its sole owner in 1917. He was active in Republican Party politics and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1924. He died in 1949.

Robert E. Lorton Jr., his grandson, passed the title of publisher to his son, Robert E. Lorton III, in 2005.

Slideshow: Front pages of BH Media's daily papers

The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1080, steve.jordon@owh.com, twitter.com/buffettOWH

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