Berkshire in talks with Graham to trade shares for new unit

Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:00pm EST

Berkshire Hathaway shareholders walk by a video screen at the company's annual meeting in Omaha May 4, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Berkshire Hathaway shareholders walk by a video screen at the company's annual meeting in Omaha May 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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(Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc said it was in talks with Graham Holdings Co, formerly The Washington Post Co, to trade the shares it owns in the education and media company for control of a yet-to-be-formed unit of Graham.

Berkshire Hathaway owns about 1.7 million of Graham's Class B stock, according to a regulatory filing. (r.reuters.com/dex76v)

Berkshire said the new unit would own a business and certain other assets of the company that it did not identify.

The Washington Post Co changed its name to Graham Holdings on November 29, 2013, after selling its newspaper publishing business to Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos in October for $250 million.

Graham Holdings provides educational services through its subsidiary, Kaplan Inc, and its media operations comprise ownership of cable television systems through its unit, Cable One, and six television broadcast stations. It also owns and operates online magazine Slate and Foreign Policy magazine.

It was not immediately clear whether the new unit would be a part of either of these businesses.

A spokesperson for Graham Holdings declined to comment, while Berkshire Hathaway officials were not available for comment outside normal working hours.

Shares of Graham Holdings closed at $654.35 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore. Editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard Orr)

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