Lee Enterprises to buy Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper business; $576-million Berkshire loan to finance deal and refinance existing Lee debt

Lee Enterprises announced today (1/29) it would acquire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway newspaper group for $140 million with the help of a $576-million loan from Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper group, BH Media, operates 31 daily newspapers and their online news sites, and Lee has managed those properties since July 2018.

The Berkshire Hathaway loan will not only pay for Lee's acquisition of BH Media, but refinance Lee's existing $435 million debt and provide sufficient cash to terminate Lee's existing revolving credit line.

Bershire's loan comes with a 9 percent annual interest rate, and will result in Berkshire being Lee's sole lender after conclusion of the deal.

Among the BH Media properties are the Buffalo (NY) News, Omaha World-Tribune, Council Bluff Nonpareil, the Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record, Tulsa World, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Daily Progress in Charlottesville and the Roanoke Times.

Lee, headquartered in Davenport, owns the Quad City Times and the Dispatch/Argus serving the Illinois Quad Cities along with 50 other media properties in 20 states. It also owns TownNews, which provides content management systems for hundreds of news and broadcast web sites around the country.

Lee's large current debt resulted from the 2005 acquisition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for which the company paid $1.46 billion.

CLICK HERE to view the company's news release about the BH Media purchase.

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