Thursday, February 13, 2020

Munger Tells His Newspaper Company That Papers Are Finished





 
Katherine Chiglinsky
Bloomberg

February 12, 2020


(Bloomberg) -- Charles Munger, who’s a newspaper company executive as well as a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. vice chairman, said U.S. newspapers have no future.

“Technological change is destroying the daily newspapers in America,” Munger, 96, said Wednesday in Los Angeles at the annual meeting of Daily Journal Corp., the publishing company where he is chairman. “The revenue goes away and the expenses remain and they’re all dying.”

Berkshire, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett, announced last month that it would sell off its newspaper holdings. BH Media and the Buffalo News will be acquired by Lee Enterprises Inc. in a rare divestiture for Buffett after he spent years snapping up local newspapers.

Buffett, a fan of newspapers since he was a boy, has lamented the decline of the industry as it suffered plummeting readership, ad competition from the web and newsroom cutbacks. He said last year that most newspapers are “toast.”

“They’re all going to die,” Munger said Wednesday. “It’s a sad thing.” He named some exceptions, saying the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are likely to survive.

Any pain that the Daily Journal faces from the decline in newspapers can be mitigated because it owns a bank-heavy portfolio of stocks, Munger said. The company also sells software and other tools to U.S. courts.

(Updates with Wall Street Journal, New York Times in fifth paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Dan Reichl, Steve Dickson


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