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Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway, the corporate holding company owned mostly by billionaire Warren Buffett, will sell its newspaper operations to publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. for $140 million, per a Wednesday announcement.

Why it matters: Buffett loves the newspaper business. His first job was a newspaper delivery boy for the Washington Post — and he has long been a vocal supporter of local news. The fact that he is finally giving up on the industry, which he has warned in recent years is "toast" due to terminal advertising decline, is significant and symbolic.

Details: The deal will expand Lee's newspaper audience by about 50% percent and add titles to its portfolio in new parts of the country.

  • The publishing conglomerate will acquire BH Media Group (BHMG) and the Buffalo News. BHMG owns 30 daily newspapers and more than 100 weekly publications in the Midwest and Southeast.
  • Included in the deal is the Omaha World-Herald, Buffett's hometown paper, as well as North Carolina's Winston-Salem Journal and Texas' Waco Tribune-Herald.
  • The deal, expected to close in March, gives Lee Enterprises $576 million in long-term financing at a 9% annual interest rate in order to help refinance its existing debt of $400 million. Its shares were up 57% in pre-market trading with the news.

The state of play: The deal isn't shocking to investors. Berkshire inked a deal with Lee in 2018 to have it manage those papers in order to produce efficiencies.

The big picture: The newspaper business has been in serious decline over the past two decades, coinciding with the rise of the internet. The internet has taken up much of the advertising market share that used to be owned primarily by print newspapers.

  • Regulators, aware of the realities that the newspaper and local media industries face in a digital world, have tried to level the playing field by trying to roll back decades-old rules that may be keeping them from growing, but their efforts have mostly been moot.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

In photos: Protests in U.S., across the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

A protest march in support of Palestinians near the Washington monument in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and DW.com report.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

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