Thomas Murphy started his career managing a tiny, failing UHF television station in Albany NY. Over time Murphy bought TV stations across the country and diversified into newspapers and cable TV.
The company became known as Capital Cities Communications Inc. In 1985 the company acquired American Broadcasting Cos for $3.5 billion. Berkshire Hathaway helped finance the deal by investing $517.5 million to acquire an 18% stake in the combined entity.
The business was sold in 1995 to Walt Disney Co for $19 billion. “Those who bought stock in Capital Cities in 1957, Mr. Murphy calculated, would have reaped $2,000 in 1995 for every $1 originally invested.”