Warren Buffett buys more newspapers
Berkshire Hathaway unwillingly discloses its position in Lee Enterprises.
Berkshire had intended to keep the position confidential. But its request to do so was rejected by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lee is a provider of local news, information and advertising in primarily mid-size markets, with 48 daily newspapers and a joint interest in four others. It owns nearly 300 specialty publications in 23 states. In the latest Berkshire shareholder meeting, Buffett said that local newspapers will do alright in the digital age. He also bought newspapers from Media General (MEG) lately. LEE stock lost 95% of its market value over the past five years. It closed Tuesday at $1.15, but is up more than 20% Wednesday.
In the past, Warren Buffett has kept his positions confidential while he was accumulating shares. He did this with Burlington Northern and IBM (IBM). Eventually, Berkshire bought all the shares of Burlington Northern. He also amassed a huge position in IBM last year.
Today LEE has a market cap of only $58 million, which is extremely small compared to the other investments Buffett usually makes. Since he tried to keep it confidential, it is conceivable that he will continue to buy shares.
Apparently, LEE is a cigar-butt investment -- something Buffett does not do much these days. So what is driving him to buy newspapers lately?
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All hail the bull market, which ended the week with a big rally. But it also is starting to look a little like 1987, which suffered an epic blow-out.
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