Washington Post upping dividend, retiring Buffett


The Washington Post Company announced that it is increasing its cash dividend to shareholders. On the same day it announced that uber-billionaire Warren Buffett is retiring from its board of directors.

The dividend increase will take the annual dividend to $9.40 per share from the previous $9.00. The first quarterly payment of $2.35 per share will be paid February 11th to shareholders of record on January 31st.

Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has decided that he will not be a candidate for re-election to WaPoCo board when his current term expires in May. He has served as a director since 1974 – with a break of eight years when he became a director of Capital Cities.

“For most of the last 37 years, we’ve been privileged to have on our board perhaps the best adviser any company could have had throughout that period,” said Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company. “Warren’s influence has been pervasive, from major corporate policies to the menu at board lunches. Only our cholesterol levels will be better going forward.”

But the CEO added, “Warren has encouraged us to continue to consult him on company matters and with the encouragement of our board, calls to the 402 area code will not be decreasing.”
“I’ve loved The Washington Post since I delivered almost 500,000 copies of it as a youth in Washington. That love for the product, the company and the management continues unabated today. I will always be available to help management in any way they request. It’s been a great 37 years,” said Buffett.

RBR-TVBR observation: Don’t think this takes Buffett out of the newspaper business either. Berkshire Hathaway owns the Buffalo News and Buffett is the newspaper’s Chairman. Even so, he stated back in 2007 that the newspaper business was in a “skid” that “will almost certainly continue.”