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The Briefcase: Lee Enterprises completes purchase of Journal, News & Record

The Briefcase: Lee Enterprises completes purchase of Journal, News & Record

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Lee Enterprises Inc. completes purchase of Journal, News & Record

Lee Enterprises Inc. completed its purchase of BH Media Group’s newspaper properties, including the Winston-Salem Journal and News & Record of Greensboro, on Monday.

Lee paid $140 million in cash to Berkshire Hathaway to acquire 30 daily newspapers, 49 paid weekly publications and 32 other print products. The deal also includes The Buffalo News and Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald, which Berkshire Hathaway owned separately.

The Iowa newspaper chain had been managing the group since June 2018. Media analysts expected Lee would purchase the BH Media properties once the management contract went into effect.

Berkshire Hathaway has provided $576 million in long-term financing to Lee at a 9% annual rate. That makes Berkshire Hathaway Lee’s sole lender.

Lee becomes the third corporate owner of the Journal in the paper’s 122-year history. Media General purchased the Winston-Salem newspapers from the Gray family in 1969, while BH Media Group paid $142 million for most of Media General’s newspaper portfolio in July 2012.

BH Media bought the News & Record from Landmark Media Enterprises for an undisclosed price in February 2013.

Richard Craver

N.C. economy climbs in January over 2019 levels

The North Carolina economy grew at a strong year-over-year pace in February, according to an index compiled by economics professor Michael Walden of N.C. State University. The latest index was released Monday.

The index measures leading state economic indicators, such as manufacturing employment hours and wages, residential building permits and initial jobless claims.

It ordinarily serves as a forecast of the state economy four to six months out. The data is seasonally adjusted.

The index rose 4.3% from January to February, as well as 4.5% over the year. It has been in negative territory for much of 2019.

When making a year-over-year comparison, unemployment claims were up 1.9%, building permits jumped 31.6%, manufacturing employment hours were unchanged and manufacturing employment wages were down 1%.

However, Walden cautioned that the Index for upcoming months “should be lower, perhaps significantly so.”

“On the positive side, the February report suggests the state economy entered the virus crisis in a strong position. Once the virus is contained and eliminated, state economic growth should resume.”

Richard Craver

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