‘We are blindsided, dismayed, and disappointed. What an unmitigated mess.’
The Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, -0.01% billionaire “missed a chance to forge a vibrant, local ownership path for his hometown paper,” Cooper said, adding that Buffett instead unloaded it to an “out-of-state company that has all the nonsense national chains are known for” — nonsense such as “bloated bonuses for executives” and “massive cuts to product,” he said.
Read the whole statement:
Buffett, of course, doesn’t see it that way.
“We had zero interest in selling the group to anyone else for one simple reason: We believe that Lee is best positioned to manage through the industry’s challenges,” he said in a statement after the deal was announced.
Lee will pay $140 million in cash and Berkshire will provide it with about $576 million in long-term financing at a 9% annual rate, allowing the Davenport, Iowa-based company to refinance debt and clean up its balance sheet.
The deal helped propel Lee’s stock to its biggest-ever one-day gain, a week after it closed at a four-year low. The buying didn’t last long, however, with shares off almost 10% in early Thursday trading.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.54% was also lower.