Warren Buffett To Acquire Tulsa World Newspaper

Monday, February 25th 2013, 11:44 am
By: Emory Bryan

The family that has owned Tulsa's daily newspaper for 102 years is selling it to a company based in Omaha, Nebraska. A company owned by America's second-wealthiest man, Warren Buffett, is the buyer - it's called BH Media group.

Despite the change in ownership, The World's editors say they've been told all of the news decisions will continue to be made in Tulsa.

No one can remember the Tulsa World before it was owned by the Lorton Family. The role of publisher has been handed down through the family to Bobby Lorton III, who was part of the announcement today that the paper is being sold.

"That was stunning to most of us, but we've enjoyed our years with the Lortons and we look forward to a new ownership group. Berkshire Hathaway obviously has a strong brand name, and we're excited about that," said Executive Editor Joe Worley.

The buyer is a media group controlled by Warren Buffett, who has been increasing his investment in smaller newspapers and electronic media. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

His company says they focus on places with a strong sense of community.

"They look at newspapers that have a strong relationship with the community and they thought the Tulsa World fit into that strategy," said Managing Editor Susan Ellerbach.

"They felt very good about the relationship the Tulsa World has with the community and they want to see that continue, and we thought that was great news."

The Tulsa World has a daily circulation of 95,000 newspapers and more on Sunday. It's been Tulsa's only daily paper for two decades, but is facing the same pressure common to all media companies as more people get news from a greater variety of sources.

"The media business today is really tough and that makes it a little more difficult for families, locally-owned groups, to hold on to those newspapers," Worley said.

In a statement in the BH Media Group's Omaha World-Herald newspaper, Robert E. Lorton Jr., chairman of World Publishing Company 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."

With Monday's purchase, BH Media Group now owns 28 daily newspapers and 40 weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.

The sale is to close in March.

Learn why Warren Buffett thinks newspapers are so important - and why he's buying them.