Back in May 2012, the “Oracle of Omaha,’ billionaire investor Warren Buffet and the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), jumped into the smallcap investing world by taking a stake in two media companies: Lee Enterprises and Media General. Both specialize in local journalism, a type of media enterprise that Buffett has made a point of telling the world he believes in.
To the investment world and media watchers in general, this was a bold move considering that the world of journalism is currently in flux. But Buffett was making a bet that the demand for local news like sports, weddings and other local affairs has staying power, according to media reports at the time.
Well, how has his investment fared? Has the Buffett magic managed to extend to the new world of media? I’ll say!
Richmond, VA-based Media General Inc. owns and operates broadcast television stations and related websites and mobile news applications. According to Yahoo, its portfolio comprises 32 network-affiliated broadcast television stations, and their associated digital media and mobile platforms in 29 markets reach approximately 17.2 million households. The company’s network affiliations include 12 CBS stations, 9 NBC stations, 7 ABC stations, 1 FOX station, 1 CW station, and 1 MyNetworkTV station. The day Buffett’s investment was announced MEG stock jumped about 33 percent. Back on June 18 2012, MEG closed at $3.84. On Nov. 21, 2014, MEG closed at $14.78, down 1 cent for the day, with a market cap of $1.3 billion. Its 52-week trading range is $12.45-$23.97.
Davenport, IA-based Lee Enterprises publishes 502 daily and 38 Sunday newspapers, 300 weekly newspapers and niche publications in 22 states, according to Yahoo. The company, founded in 1890, also provides digital infrastructure and digital publishing services for about 1,500 daily and weekly newspapers. Back on June 19 2012, LEE closed at $1.31 with a market cap of $68 million. It closed Nov. 21, 2014 at $3.09, down 4 cents for the day, with a market cap of $166 million. Its 52-week trading range is $3.07-$5.42.