By Robert MacMillan
NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's daily newspaper, The Buffalo News, is offering buyouts to a third of its staff after many didn't take up a similar offer last year.
The western New York state paper, part of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N)(BRKb.N) chief's empire, has identified 300 employees who are eligible for a buyout package. It is the second offer the paper has made in less than a year.
An offer last August went to 107 employees, or about 10 percent of its workforce.
The paper said at the time that it expected it might not meet that target -- and it was right.
Only about a dozen people went for it, News Senior Vice President Dottie Gallagher-Cohen told the paper.
This time, the paper does not expect 300 takers, she told Reuters. It does not have a specific target and would not accept 300 even if they all said yes, she said.
The company is offering the package to the same workers as last time, plus 200 more in various departments. Unlike before, some newsroom employees are eligible, Gallagher-Cohen said.Employees who accept the latest offer will get at least $60,000, and the amount would rise based on the number of years of service and salary level. That is essentially the same as last time, Gallagher-Cohen said.
The News is a small part of Buffett's empire, which generates about half its business from insurance.
The paper is in much the same position as others in the United States. Most are suffering a steep drop in advertising, made only worse by the world financial crisis and a trickling away of readers to the Internet and other free news sources.
As a result, many are offering buyouts, firing staff and trying to sell land and other properties.
One of the largest, Tribune Co, has filed for bankruptcy. Others, such as The New York Times Co (NYT.N), Lee Enterprises (LEE.N) and McClatchy (MNI.N), are trying to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars in debt even as ad sales tumble.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; editing by Carol Bishopric and Ted Kerr)
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