(Versa Capital deal added after Berkshire deal)

In a vote by the richest American for the future, or at least the financial value, at current prices, of the battered American regional-news business, billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Corp. has agreed to buy the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Winston-Salem Journal, and 61 smaller Southern daily and weekly newspapers from Media General Corp. for $142 million.
Buffett, a longtime investor in insurance, railroads and other cyclical industries, is a voracious newspaper reader, the owner of the leading Buffalo and Omaha dailies, and a board member and investor in the Washington Post Co.
But he has been famously been skeptical of the industry's future, calling his financial interest in the business "not rational" back in 2008 as ad sales and share values were falling.
The deal doesn't include Media General's flagship Tampa Tribune and associated Florida papers, which are for sale separately, or the company's TV stations. Berkshire will also lend Media General more than $400 million to pay down debt. Statement here, list of papers Media General owns here.

ALSO TODAY: Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management, a troubled-company investor backed by casino owner, Penn State sports funder and investment manager Ira Lubert (whose clients include Pennsylvania's state worker retirement fund), has bought four Midwestern newspapers, including the Sedalia (Mo.) Democrat and others in Lima, O., Jacksonville, Ill., and Alton, Ill., from Freedom Communications, adding to previous papers Versa owns. Price not immediately disclosed.