From Benioff to Bezos: Billionaires who own news publications

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.


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

1)        Marc Benioff — Salesforce CEO

         Bought Time Magazine in September 2018

Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

2)        Patrick Soon-Shiong — Surgeon and entrepreneur

         Bought LA Times in February 2018

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong medical researcher, inventor and chairman of the Chan Soon-Siong Family Foundation, attends a VIP reception before receiving the "Treasures of Los Angeles" award at the luncheon at Central City Association of Los Angeles May 9

3)        Jeff Bezos — Amazon CEO

         Bought The Washington Post in October 2013


Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts 

4)        John Henry — Investor, Red Sox owner

          Bought The Boston Globe in August 2013



Feb 24, 2015; Ft. Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry addresses members of the media at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports 


5)       Glen Taylor—Investor, Minnesota Timberwolves owner

         Bought the Star Tribune in July 2014

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor attends the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. Getty Images

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

         Bought The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015

Gambling giant Las Vegas Sands Corp's Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson reacts during a news conference in Macau, China December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu 

7)        Warren Buffett —Berkshire Hathaway CEO

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

Warren Buffett, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, poses for a portrait in New York October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)