Warren Buffett Says He’s Always Had Some (Fleeting) Interest in Buying ‘WSJ’

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By: E&P Staff

Appearing with Charlie Rose on his late-night PBS talk show Thursday, financier Warren Buffett admitted that he has always had some interest in trying to buy the Wall Street Journal. But he compared it to more of a fleeting flirtation than anything too serious.

It’s like you’re walking on the street “and you see a girl,” he said, chuckling, noting that this interest lasts only about five minutes.

Buffett also said that while newspapers are in decline, if he wasn’t running Berkshire Hathaway he would be working in the newspaper field. He owns the Buffalo News, but that is just a part-time involvement. Despite drops in profit, he said he had not intention of getting out of the newspaper biz.

Often described as the world’s second-richest person, he is the largest shareholder of The Washington Post Co.

He called Sam Zell’s purchase of the Tribune Co. a great deal for him but now comes the hard part — making that company more profitable.

Buffett said he wouldn’t bet against Rupert Murdoch winning his bid for Dow Jones, explaining that he is “one of the savviest” media men around. When he first met him in 1974, just after he’d bought the New York Post and “only been in this country six months,” Murdoch had immediately struck him as a sharp guy.

He said that the Journal and The New York Times may be exceptions to the broad newspaper decline, since they are “national” papers. He didn’t comment directly on the Washington Post, saying that it was more of a local paper — but with a very national Web site.

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