Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett announced a stock swap today in which he will exit most of his four-decade investment in the firm that owned the Washington Post newspaper.
Below is a timeline of Buffett’s involvement with Washington Post Co., which sold the newspaper last year to Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and was renamed Graham Holdings Inc.
1933: The Post is acquired by Eugene Meyer in a bankruptcy sale.
1943: Buffett, who lives in Washington because his father is a U.S. congressman, delivers newspapers for the Post.
1963: Katharine Graham, Meyer’s daughter, is named president of Washington Post Co.
June 15, 1971: The Post sells stock in an initial public offering.
1973: Buffett purchases Washington Post Co. stock for $10.6 million, or $5.63 a share.
In an interview broadcast in 2012, Buffett recalled that the price fell after Richard Nixon, a Republican, “sort of declared war” on the newspaper over its coverage of the break-in at Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex. “I salute the Nixon administration for stirring up the dust at that time,” Buffett said.
Katharine Graham becomes chairman and CEO.
1974: Buffett is named a Washington Post director.
1987: Buffett writes that he intends to permanently keep the Washington Post stake, “even if these securities were to appear significantly overpriced.”
1991: Katharine Graham’s son, Donald Graham, takes over as CEO.
1998: Katharine Graham wins a Pulitzer Prize for “Personal History,” her autobiography.
“He literally took me to business school, which was just what I needed,” she wrote of Buffett.
2001: Katharine Graham dies at 84.
2011: Buffett tells Wall Street Journal that Berkshire will “keep every share of stock” in the Post, as he announces his departure from a second stint on the publisher’s board.
May 2, 2013: Buffett says during an event at the University of Nebraska Omaha that Katharine Graham was one of his role models. He calls her a “super high-grade” woman as he urges female students to pursue recognition for what they accomplish.
Aug. 5, 2013: Donald Graham agrees to sell the Washington Post to Bezos for $250 million.
Nov 29: Washington Post Co. is renamed Graham Holdings Co.
Feb. 12, 2014: Berkshire says it is talks to exit its Graham Holdings investment of 1.73 million shares.
March 12, 2014: Berkshire says it agreed to turn over 1.6 million Graham shares, valued at about $1.1 billion, to the Washington-based firm. In return, Buffett’s company will get a Miami TV station valued at about $364 million, along with cash and Berkshire shares held by Graham Holdings.