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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

  • May 2, 2009 11:37 AM UTC by Liz Claman

    Buffett: Wouldn't buy more newspapers at any price

    Question: At what price does it become compelling to invest in newspaper business or is there no price in today’s environment?

    Buffett: The current environment is accentuating problem in newspapers -but it’s not the basic cause. Charlie and I read 5 a day. We’ll never give them up. We would not buy them at any price. They have the possibility of going to unending losses. They were essential to the public 20 years ago. Their pricing power was essential with customer. They lost the essential nature. The erosion has accelerated dramatically. They were only essential to advertiser as long as essential to reader. No one liked buying ads in the paper – it’s just that they worked. I don’t see anything on the horizon that causes that erosion to end.

    Munger: It’s really a national tragedy. As they disappear – I think what replaces them won’t be as desirable as what we’re losing.

    Bowling Green, Ky., business group gives small companies more power. go to web site bowling green ky

    Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News August 3, 2004 By Christopher Miller, The Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Aug. 3–Best Business Systems of Bowling Green used to distribute printed documents and promotional items to almost all the local banks and various other customers, according to Paul Keith, president and CEO of Best Business Systems.

    The company had satisfied clients, he said. The computer forms, check invoices, newspaper bills, promotional pens, hats and T-shirts filled the needs of their customers.

    But doing a great job wasn’t enough for Keith’s business.

    Because of mergers and acquisitions, Best Business Systems lost some of its key contracts to larger companies that could fill the needs on a national scale.

    That started eight years ago. The losses didn’t come because the company did bad work, but because it didn’t have the reach of larger printed-document distributors, Keith said.

    “It’s unfortunate when a customer tells you that you have better prices, better service, but they had to drop you because ownership changed,” he said.

    The problem wasn’t unique to the Bowling Green company. Across the country, distributors and printers were losing their business to the national players, Keith said.

    “The model shifted,” he said. “That’s when I became determined to do something about it.” From this came Keith’s brainchild — International Business Solutions Alliance. Two years ago, the budding alliance had 10 charter members, including Best Business Systems.

    Today, the Bowling Green-based alliance connects the distribution and manufacturing capacity of about 120 affiliate distributors and manufacturers from across the nation. Contracts are arranged through the central office in Bowling Green and other IBSA offices, and affiliates — generally geographically close to the account — would fill the orders of the customer.

    Together, the affiliates have a goal of competing nationally with the big three companies: Moore Wallace, a division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Standard Register and Relizon, Keith said. see here bowling green ky

    While the alliance remains in its infancy, it’s about to rear its head and roar. If a pending contract comes through, IBSA would win roughly 30 percent of the national hospital document market, a tasty morsel worth about $1.2 billion.

    “In less than 60 days, we’ll know,” Keith said.

    He estimates the total national market to be $20 billion.

    One of the affiliates, Cortan Industries in Redmond, Wash., could see its business increase 200 percent to 300 percent over the next five years, according to Roger Courson, president and CEO of the company, which distributes and prints documents and other items.

    “I’m more excited now in this industry than I’ve been in the last 38 years,” Courson said.

    He heard about IBSA two years ago through document industry news.

    It appealed to Courson because they wanted to sell national accounts and would initially start in the medical field.

    “Because I’ve been very involved in management and development of national proposals, I’m extremely confident that the prototype we developed with IBSA will be extremely successful,” Courson said.

    It’s going to change the entire philosophy of purchasing on the national account level, he said.

    Courson isn’t the only one excited.

    “We are extremely enthusiastic about the IBSA, are very pleased to be a part of it and will work very hard (for it) to be a success,” said Barbara Bliley, co-owner of Business Forms Specialty of Hampton, Va., a printed document distributor.

    Bliley also anticipates growth in her business from taking part in the alliance. She understands there are many national accounts that need national coverage.

    “They need to have folks in all the locations where they operate,” Bliley said. “By having a group of affiliates that geographically cover the country, we can offer that to a national account.” Two weeks ago, IBSA held a conference for its affiliates and a handful of interested companies at the Sloan Convention Center.

    Those attending were versed in the logistical structure of IBSA, how contracts would be dolled out, how payments would be made, and reassured that even while a company would become an affiliate of IBSA for candidacy for nationwide accounts, each company would still be able to conduct its regional business in its own back yard independently.

    Keith informed the affiliates about the uses of the organization’s software, Xetex, which would take care of all billing centrally.

    Each member affiliate is screened before being admitted to the organization, and some could be asked to leave if business performance doesn’t meet IBSA’s high standards, Keith said.

    Mike Long, owner of Proforms in Knoxville, attended the IBSA conference.

    “It sends us out in the larger market place as a unit,” Long said.

    He gave the classic reasons why a printed document business owner would want to join IBSA and pursue lucrative national accounts: “It’s probably the Jacksons, Grants and Hamiltons.”


People like me whom do just about everything on the internet, have not seen a newspaper in person for more than a decade. Sure the newspaper is great, but with the internet and everytime you get on your computer, there are ads everywhere about current events, sports, financial markets, etc. So why would I takt the time to burn gas, and spend money on a newspaper? It just doe not add up consideral all I just said.

May 5, 2009 at 12:41 am

about this blog

  • Liz Claman joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as an anchor in October 2007. Her debut included an exclusive interview with Berkshire Hathaway CEO and legendary investor Warren Buffett.

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