Lee Enterprises

Lee Enterprises is a publicly traded American media company. It publishes 46 daily newspapers in 21 states,[3] and more than 300 weekly, classified, and specialty publications. Lee Enterprises was founded in 1890 by Alfred Wilson Lee[3] and is based in Davenport, Iowa.[4]

Lee Enterprises
Traded asNYSE: LEE
Russell Microcap Index component
FounderA.W. Lee
HeadquartersDavenport, Iowa United States
Key people
Mary Junck
(Executive Chairman)
Kevin Mowbray
(President and CEO)
ProductsNewspapers and television station
Revenue US$566.9 million (2017)[1]
US$92.55 million (2017)[1]
US$27.48 million (2017)[1]
Total assets US$620.9 million (2017)[1]
Number of employees
WebsiteLee Enterprises website

The company also provides online services, including websites supporting its daily newspapers and other publications. Lee had more than 25[3] million unique web and mobile visitors monthly, with 209.1 million pages viewed. Lee became majority partner of TownNews.com in 1996[4]; Town News creates software for newspaper publication purposes. The company offers commercial printing services to its customers.[4]

Lee Enterprises is currently the fourth largest newspaper group in the United States of America. The company acquired Howard Publications (16 daily newspapers) for $694 million in 2002[5] and Pulitzer, Inc. (14 daily, over 100 non-daily), for $1.5 billion in 2005.[6]

From January 2012 to April 2017, the company's executive chairman, Mary Junck, was chairman of the Associated Press.[7]

In December 2018, Lee Enterprises announced that Mary Junck would transition from Executive Chairman to Chairman of the company.[8]

Chapter 11 bankruptcy, debt discharge and reorganization (2011)

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011.[9] It emerged from bankruptcy less than two months later. In April 2012, Warren Buffett took a stake in Lee Enterprises (through Berkshire Hathaway Inc.), buying $85 million of the company's debt from Goldman Sachs Group.[10]

In June 2012, Berkshire Hathaway filed an amended Form 13F (13F-HR/A) for the period ending March 31, 2012.[11] This document disclosed that Berkshire accumulated $2,119,000 or 1,655,125 common shares of Lee Enterprises, or a 3.2 percent stake.[12] The document noted that the confidentiality of this transaction was requested but denied by the SEC on May 25, 2012.[13]

Debt recapitalization (2013-14)

In April 2013, Lee Enterprises announced that Berkshire Hathaway refinanced the remaining Pulitzer acquisition debt equating to $94 million.[14] Lee Enterprises incurred no cost for doing this. The collateral involved was the TNI Partner stake including the Arizona Daily Star and azstarnet.com. The result of this was a reduction in interest from a variable rate of 11.3% to a fixed rate of 9% while at the same time extending the debt maturity date of the debt from December 2015 to April 2017. At the time of the announcement Lee Enterprises noted they had $893 million left to pay off. Lee paid off and retired its New Pulitzer notes in June 2015, 6 months before the original maturity date and 22 months before the new maturity date. Lee also refinanced its remaining debt in 2014 in order to extend the maturities from 2015 and 2017 to 2019 and 2022. Lee retired its 1st Lien Term Loan in November 2018, four months before its scheduled March 2019 maturity.

On June 27, 2018, Lee Enterprises and Berkshire Hathaway reached a five-year agreement to allow Lee Enterprises to manage Berkshire Hathaway's newspaper and digital operations.[15]


Lee Enterprises owns many newspapers.[16]

ArizonaFlagstaffArizona Daily Sun
TucsonArizona Daily Star
CaliforniaHanfordThe Sentinel
LompocThe Lompoc Record
NapaNapa Valley Register
Santa MariaSanta Maria Times
Idaho Twin FallsTimes-News
IllinoisBloomingtonThe Pantagraph
CarbondaleThe Southern Illinoisan
DecaturHerald & Review
East MolineThe Dispatch / The Rock Island Argus
Eureka Woodford County Journal / Woodford Star
Gibson CityGibson City Courier
KankakeeDaily Journal
MattoonJournal Gazette & Times-Courier
IndianaMunsterThe Times
IowaDavenportQuad-City Times
Mason CityGlobe Gazette
OsageMitchell County Press-News
MuscatineMuscatine Journal
Sioux CitySioux City Journal
WaterlooWaterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
MinnesotaWinonaWinona Daily News
MissouriPark HillsDaily Journal
St. LouisSt. Louis Post Dispatch
Town and CountrySuburban Journals
MontanaBillingsBillings Gazette
ButteMontana Standard
HamiltonRavalli Republic
HelenaIndependent Record
NebraskaBeatriceBeatrice Daily Sun
ColumbusColumbus Telegram
David CityThe Banner-Press
FremontFremont Tribune
LincolnLincoln Journal Star
PlattsmouthThe Plattsmouth Journal
SchuylerSchuyler Sun
NevadaElkoElko Daily Free Press
New YorkAuburnThe Citizen
Glens FallsThe Post-Star
North DakotaBismarckThe Bismarck Tribune
OregonAlbanyAlbany Democrat-Herald
BandonBandon Western World
Coos BayThe World
CorvallisCorvallis Gazette-Times
LebanonLebanon Express
ReedsportThe Umpqua Post
PennsylvaniaCarlisleThe Sentinel
South CarolinaOrangeburgThe Times and Democrat
South DakotaRapid CityRapid City Journal
WashingtonLongviewThe Daily News
WisconsinBarabooBaraboo News Republic*
Beaver DamDaily Citizen*
Black River FallsJackson County Chronicle
Chippewa FallsThe Chippewa Herald
Kenosha Kenosha News
La CrosseLa Crosse Tribune
Lake Geneva Lake Geneva Regional News
MadisonThe Capital Times*
Wisconsin State Journal*
MaustonJuneau County Star-Times*
PortagePortage Daily Register*
RacineRacine Journal Times
ReedsburgReedsburg Times-Press*
Sauk CitySauk Prairie Eagle*
ViroquaThe Vernon Broadcaster
WestbyThe Westby Times
Wisconsin DellsWisconsin Dells Events*
WyomingCasperCasper Star-Tribune

* Newspaper owned by Capital Newspapers, a partnership with The Capital Times Company.

Television subsidiary sale (2000)

Lee formerly operated a broadcasting division, which it sold in 2000 to pay off debt and in order to focus on newspaper publishing. Most of the TV stations were sold to Emmis Communications[17], and have all been sold, as of 2007, to other companies.

  • (**) – Indicates that it was built and signed on by Lee Enterprises.
City of license / Market Station Channel
Years owned Current ownership status
Tucson KGUN 9 (9) 1986–2000 ABC affiliate owned by the E. W. Scripps Company
Honolulu KGMB 9 (now 5 (23)) 1977–2000 CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television
Mason City - Rochester - Austin KGLO-TV ** 3 (42) 1954–1977 CBS affiliate, KIMT, owned by Heartland Media
Topeka, Kansas KSNT 27 (27) 1995–2000 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Wichita - Hutchinson, Kansas KSNW 3 (45) 1995–2000 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Great Bend KSNC
(satellite of KSNW)
2 (22) 1995–2000 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Garden City, Kansas KSNG
(satellite of KSNW)
11 (11) 1995–2000 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
McCook, Nebraska KSNK
(satellite of KSNW)
8 (12) 1995–2000 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Hannibal - Quincy - Keokuk - Macomb KHQA-TV ** 7 (7) 1953–1986 CBS affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
Mankato KEYC-TV ** 12 (12) 1960–1977 CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television
Omaha - Council Bluffs KMTV 3 (45) 1986–2000 CBS affiliate owned by the E. W. Scripps Company
Albuquerque - Santa Fe KGGM-TV/KRQE 13 (13) 1991–2000 CBS affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Portland KOIN 6 (40) 1977–2000 CBS affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
El Paso - Las Cruces - Ciudad Juárez KMAZ 48 (47) 1993–1998 Telemundo affiliate, KTDO, owned by NBCUniversal
Huntington - Charleston WSAZ-TV 3 (23) 1971–2000 NBC affiliate owned by Gray Television

In addition, Lee also operated KASY-TV in Albuquerque which was owned by Ramar Communications. That station was a UPN affiliate. KASY was sold to WB affiliate KWBQ in 1999 when the LMA was terminated.


  1. http://lee.net/lee-enterprises-inc--k/pdf_ad936880-014a-11e8-a482-57c9f5ad0989.html
  2. Lee Enterprises Inc.: publishing, newspapers, online, shoppers, classified, specialty publications
  3. Enterprises, Lee. "About". Lee Enterprises. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  4. TownNews.com. "About TownNews.com". TownNews.com. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  5. "Lee Enterprises Buys Howard Publications". Editor & Publisher. February 2, 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  6. Steinberg, Jacques (February 1, 2005). "Pulitzer to Be Acquired by Lee Enterprises". New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  7. ""Mary Junck of Lee Enterprises named new AP board chairman", Associated Press press release, January 26, 2012". Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  8. "Mary Junck moves to chairman of Lee Enterprises". Lee Enterprises. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  9. "Newspaper group Lee Enterprises files for bankruptcy", Thomson Reuters, December 12, 2011.
  10. "Warren Buffett Building Newspaper Empire? - Deal Journal -". blogs.wsj.com. 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  11. "Berkshire Hathaway SEC Archives March 31, 2012 13F-HR/A amendment"
  12. Reuters (June 6, 2012). "Shares of Lee Enterprises Surge After Buffett Buys Stake". New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  13. Kraut, Dan (June 5, 2012). "Buffett's Berkshire Discloses Stake In Lee Enterprises". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  14. "Lee Enterprises refinances $94 million in debt". nwitimes.com. April 30, 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  15. "Warren Buffett loves his newspapers, he just wants someone else to manage them for him". cnbc.com. June 26, 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  16. "Lee Enterprise Markets". Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  17. "Lee Enterprises Inc.: publishing, newspapers, online, shoppers, class…". archive.is. 2013-02-21. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2018-07-01.

Official website

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