Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway said it would sell its BH Media Group publications and The Buffalo News for US$140 million (RM742.9 million) in cash to Lee Enterprises, which owns more than 40 United States daily newspapers and other print operations.
Berkshire is also holding onto any local real estate it obtained as it was buying up newspapers and leasing those properties back to Lee, for an additional $8 million a year for 10 years.
Buffett is a lifelong fan of newspapers but he has said for several years that he expects a lot of them to continue on their declining trajectory, save for a handful of national papers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
As part of the transaction, Berkshire will also become Lee's sole lender, refinancing the Davenport, Iowa-based company's existing debt and lending $576 million at a 9% interest rate.
Buffett, 89, previously described himself as a newspaper "addict" dedicated to purchasing more news outlets in a 2012 letter to BH Media Group's publishers and editors.
The sale includes BHMG's more than 49 paid weekly publications with digital sites and 32 other print products, as well as the Buffalo News, which is owned separately by Berkshire Hathaway.
Lee has managed the BH Media Group since the summer of 2018. Nine years later, Buffett's media group's annual revenue is up, but only slightly, to $373 million, and was generating a slim profit of $15 million.
Lee, which had been managing BHMG's pubs for 18 months, says it anticipates $20 million to $25 million in revenue and cost synergies.
"We believe that Lee is best positioned to manage through the industry's challenges", stated Warren E. Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett cites the decline in newspaper ad revenue for his lack of hope in the media industry during the same interview.
With the acquisition of BHMG's publications, Lee Enterprises will almost double its audience size and expand its portfolio of daily newspapers from 50 to 81.
Buffett, who got a job delivering papers as a teenager and invested in the industry to capitalize on its one-time local advertising monopoly, lamented past year that most newspapers are "toast".
In a statement, Buffett said Berkshire had "zero interest" in selling to anyone other than Lee.
"I am confident that our newspapers will be in the right hands going forward", he added.