TULSA — Billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is buying the Tulsa World for an undisclosed price.
The privately held Tulsa newspaper has a daily circulation of 95,000.
World Publishing Co. Chairman Robert E. Lorton announced the sale to newspaper employees during a meeting Monday morning.
“This has not been an easy decision, as you can imagine, after more than 100 years for the Lortons, but for our employees — you all — for the Tulsa World and for the Tulsa community, we believe — and have decided — this is the best path to the future,” Lorton said.
Robert E. Lorton III, the company's CEO and the newspaper's publisher, will leave the newspaper and will be replaced as publisher by John R. Bair, previously the company's president and chief operating officer.
The deal is expected to close next month.
Terry Kroeger, who runs Berkshire's newspapers, said the Tulsa paper will be a great fit. BH Media Group owns 28 daily newspapers and 42 weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.
Berkshire bought 63 Media General newspapers last year for $142 million to launch its newspaper unit. At the end of 2012, Berkshire closed the Manassas News & Messenger, a Virginia newspaper, because it was struggling to compete in the Washington suburbs. But Berkshire has continued buying newspapers since then with the addition of the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record last month, and now the Tulsa World.
Newspapers are still a relatively small part of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns an assortment of more than 80 subsidiaries and holds major stakes in companies like Coca-Cola Co., Wells Fargo and IBM.
Negotiations on the newspaper's sale have been taking place for a couple of months, said Kroeger, who added that the newspaper's name and downtown headquarters won't be changing.
“The Tulsa World (name) is a big piece of what we're buying,” Kroeger said.
Larry King, BH Media Group vice president for news and content, told a gathering of Tulsa World editors that news decisions will continue to be made locally.
“When it comes to news, you're not going to hear from me,” King said. “I just want to assure you that there's no one from Omaha looking down your throats and trying to tell you how to cover Tulsa.”
King said the Tulsa World's content-sharing agreement with The Oklahoman will likely continue and that content-sharing options with other BH Media Group newspapers likely will develop.
King said BH Media Group remains bullish on the newspaper industry.
“I don't think I'm telling any secrets, but there'll be more (purchases) to come,” he said.