From Benioff to Bezos: Billionaires who own news publications

Jade Scipioni

There has been quite a change of hands in the world of news publications lately, especially between billionaires, who are looking to keep the struggling industry afloat.

On Monday, hedge fund-backed MNG Enterprises announced it has put in an unsolicited offer to buy USA Today publisher Gannett in a deal valued at $1.36 billion.

In a letter to shareholders, MNG, which is backed by Alden Global Capital, said it believes Gannett’s current team “has not demonstrated that it’s capable of effectively running this enterprise as a public company.”

The deal would turn MNG, into the largest owner of U.S. daily newspapers in the country.

In November, publishing giant Meredith Corp. announced it is selling its Fortune brand for $150 million in cash to Fortune Media Group, which is owned outright by billionaire Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon.

The deal follows a similar one in September, when billionaire and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife announced their plans to buy Time magazine from Meredith for $190 million in cash.

While the Benioffs said they will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, the move does follow a new trend in billionaires acquiring news publications in recent years.

Benioff is now the third tech mogul to buy a print title. Last year, biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired the Los Angeles Times, while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million.

But it seems that billionaire Warren Buffett, whose company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns more than 30 daily newspapers, was the one who really kicked off the trend in late 2011, when he acquired his hometown paper, the Omaha World-Herald.

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Here’s a list of billionaires who own news publications.

1)        Marc Benioff — Salesforce CEO

         Bought Time Magazine in September 2018

2)        Patrick Soon-Shiong — Surgeon and entrepreneur

         Bought LA Times in February 2018

3)        Jeff Bezos — Amazon CEO

         Bought The Washington Post in October 2013

 

4)        John Henry — Investor, Red Sox owner

          Bought The Boston Globe in August 2013

 

 

 

5)       Glen Taylor—Investor, Minnesota Timberwolves owner

         Bought the Star Tribune in July 2014

6)      Sheldon Adelson, CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands

         Bought The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015

7)        Warren Buffett —Berkshire Hathaway CEO

          Bought his first newspaper, Omaha World-Herald, in 2011. Now owns more than 30 newspapers.

 

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