Washington Post Co buys industrial supplier

Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:12pm EDT

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(Reuters) - The Washington Post Co may be taking a page out of the "Oracle of Omaha's" playbook, by further diversifying as profit and revenue at its namesake newspaper sag.

On Thursday, the Washington Post said it was buying Forney Corp, a supplier of products and systems for power and industrial boilers, from United Technologies Corp for an undisclosed sum.

Warren Buffett, the Washington Post's largest shareholder and a former board member, has built Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc into one of the pre-eminent U.S. companies by acquiring disparate businesses from furniture to railroads to underwear.

The Washington Post has shed most of its publishing assets in recent years, including Newsweek magazine and community newspapers. Its education division has been challenged by tougher regulations.

The Graham family, which controls the Washington Post, has shifted its focus from media to other sectors like healthcare with its acquisition of Celtic Healthcare and now industrial services.

Donald Graham, chairman and chief executive of the Washington Post Co, said in a statement the acquisition of Forney is part of an "ongoing strategy of investing in companies with demonstrated earnings potential and strong management teams.

"We are a diverse group of businesses sharing common goals and values, but each with its own identity and workplace culture, and with management responsible for its operations."

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Steve Orlofsky)

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