Shares of Lee Enterprises jumped 20% Wednesday on the news that Warren Buffett’s stake in the newspaper chain has grown to 6%, or 3.23 million shares. In June, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway held 1.7 million shares.
Newspaper industry analyst John Morton says Buffett likes the combination of low stock prices and respectable margins. (Lee’s profit margin is 14%; its stock price has gone from the $45 range in 2005 to $1.59 on Wednesday.)
The Post-Dispatch’s Jim Gallagher writes:
Would Buffett like to own Lee? “It wouldn’t surprise me,” said Morton.
Lee spokesman Dan Hayes says Buffett has not contacted management nor made a purchase offer.
“Warren Buffett is a very welcome investor,” he said.
Buffett’s stake in Lee stock is worth about $5.1 million, which is small potatoes to Buffett and his company. Last November, he bought $85 million of Lee debt, paying 65 cents on the dollar, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
* Warren Buffett increases stake in Lee Enterprises (stltoday.com)
* “We can see why Buffett tried to keep Lee a secret” (seekingalpha.com)
* Previous Romenesko coverage of Lee Enterprises and its execs