The Oracle of Omaha has agreed to buy the No. 2 news-release distribution service (behind PR Newswire) at a price in the hundreds of millions. Business Wire apparently has been on the block for the past four years.
In making this acquisition of Business Wire, we have followed our blueprint of buying profitable companies that are industry leaders, yet have significant growth potential. A major criteria in all our investment decisions is evaluating corporate management. Business Wire's experienced management team was key to our decision. We quickly realized that Business Wire was a gem of a company.
So, did Buffett make a good purchase? Media Orchard would obviously be a fool to question the man -- but this has never stopped us before. And besides, Warren has admitted that his Achilles' heel is anything to do with technology.
We love the folks at the local Business Wire office and currently recommend BW in many cases. Marqui provides an interesting comparative analysis of BW and PR Newswire, along with Market Wire and PrimeZone, here.
Any of these services will yield some benefits vs. not using anything at all. However, an organization should think carefully as to whether it makes sense to spend $500-$750 (minimum) to distribute something over the wire.
We agree. In particular, we've never been a fan of US1/National distribution -- we think it's lazy and often a waste of the client's money.
But the larger question is: Will we need wire services at all in five years, or 10 years? Will a company like Business Wire be able to retain its competitive position in a world of RSS, news aggregators, free Internet news distribution services, and the like?
We're not sure. But it's far from a slam dunk.