Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has set an agreement to acquire Miami ABC affiliate WPLG from Graham Holdings Co. in a stock-swap deal valued at $1.1 billion.
Deal calls for Berkshire to swap 1.6 million shares that it owns in Graham Holdings Co. for the station, an undisclosed chunk of cash and shares of Berkshire held by Graham Holdings.
The pact marks a turning point for Berkshire and the Graham Holdings , the publicly held firm that changed its name from the Washington Post Co. after it sold its flagship newspaper to Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos last year.
Berkshire had been an investor in Washington Post Co. since the 1970s, with Buffett having served as a board member of the publishing and TV station conglom.
“I am sure this is a mutually beneficial transaction for both companies,” said Buffett. “While this transaction will greatly reduce our position in Graham Holdings, our admiration for the company and its management is undiminished.”
The deal with Berkshire is likely to heighten speculation about Graham Holdings selling its other TV stations, given the boom in local broadcast TV M&A during the past two years. Graham Holdings owns five other TV stations, including outlets in Detroit, Houston and Orlando, Fla.
“Warren Buffett’s 40-year association with our company has been extremely good for our shareholders. Naturally, the deal that we have put together is one that will be good for both companies,” said Graham Holdings’ CEO Donald E. Graham. “We thank our longtime colleagues at WPLG for their enormous contributions and congratulate them on the opportunity to join one of the greatest companies in America.”
WPLG is believed to be the only TV station that will be owned outright by Berkshire Hathaway.