Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Buys the Washington Post for $250 Million

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

From the Washington Post:

“The Washington Post Co. agreed Monday to sell its flagship newspaper to founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family’s stewardship of one of America’s leading news organizations after four generations.

Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world’s richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications.”

23 Comment

  • The Grahams will be missed.

  • Besos will run a once proud newspaper right into the ground.

    • ledroittiger

      The Grahams will have precipitated it, if that’s the case. Bezos spent 1% of his total worth on the Post, and he certainly knows how to run a business. While he isn’t a journalist, he has plenty of cash to throw at the paper and it appears that this is a pet project of his.

  • Will the site still work on my iPad?

  • You think Bezos understands that the Washington Post refers to DC, not WA? Over/under on how long before he moves the Post to Seattle?

  • he must have the hots for Jen Rubin and her blood lust….

  • It’s already been in the ground for a long time.

  • I think this is a win-win for everyone. Bezos bring virtually unlimited capital to the WaPo and the WaPo will eventually be on the cutting edge of digital media. And when you compare this to the $5 billion Murdoch paid for the the WSJ, this is an absolute steal for one of the marquee U.S media print media properties (the NYTs, the WSJ, and the WaPo are, by far, the most prestigious both nationally and internationally).

    My guess is that Bezos includes a free subscription with Amazon Prime accounts and probably bumps up the Prime price to $99. And/or includes it as a freebie with every Kindle purchase. Either way, he’s going to drive a lot more eyeballs to the WaPo, which will help to ensure its successful future.

    In the meantime, I’d expect that we’ll see a lot of fat trimming at WaPo. The days of the highly paid journalist and editorial columnist are over. There’s a lot of expensive, old, deadweight at the WaPo, especially on the editorial page.

    • ledroittiger

      Agreed with the win-win. This gives the Post the ability to not have to survive hand-to-mouth, but actually put some money into making itself relevant and cutting edge for a long time to come, if Bezos plays this right.

      It will be interesting to see how this ties up with Amazon, but remember, this isn’t an Amazon acquisition. Offering it on a wider scale digital platform will help, but it isn’t all about how it will play with Amazon.

      I don’t necessarily think we will see a lot of fat trimming. There will likely be some replacements that Bezos wants, but there is more money to play with, not less. Not sure exactly why that would lead to cuts. Though with a new regime, allegiances will be lost.

      Would be interesting to see WaPo become the new NYT, though that would likely never happen.

    • brookland_rez

      Those are good points, and I agree. Bezos will transform the Post into a digital media conglomerate. And given his online experience with Amazon, he will most likely succeed.

  • From a friend:

    In a statement shortly after the news broke, Bezos stated his vision for WaPo: “For a small yearly fee, I will guarantee that the news gets to you within two days*, at no additional cost.

    *cannot guarantee delivery on Sundays

  • Amazon bought nothing – this was a Bezos deal. He expressed the value and role journalism plays in our society – but was honest in saying that newspapers as we know them today will not exist in 20 years.
    His business experience has shown that he is a rule breaker and done very well by that. Not only that, he has chosen to keep his business located in the downtown core not in the suburbs or exurbs like many dot coms. This has been great for Seattle and I hope that he can do this for DC by locating the Post in an area of the city that could use some commercial development anchored by a business like the Washington Post.
    He has been pretty apolitical in Seattle only recently giving money to the Yes on Referendum 74 campaign (marriage equality) and Yes on Charter Schools Initiative – both in Washington State. So I think his focus is going to be on transitioning the Post to a non-print, sustainable business that supports excellent journalism.
    I’m really excited and can’t wait to see the positive changes.

    • ledroittiger

      Is he going to move the offices?

      • The building was not part of the sale and the soon-to-be-renamed Washington Post Co. wants to sell it to a developer who will tear it down and build a more efficient building.

  • Check out the Tribune Company. Check out Page One, documentary about NYTimes. Educate yourself.

  • Yes, I know this was a Bezos personal investment. However, this will be tied into Amazon somehow, as that is a HUGE distribution channel. Perhaps Amazon will pay some sort of royalty fee to Bezos. Similarly, Bezos can continue to license it out to iPad, other tablet makers, and website subscriptions.
    Still, you’d be foolish to think that WaPo won’t get some sort of preferential treatment from Amazon. It’s going to be bundled into Amazon’s business model at some point in time. That’s a no-brainer, if your goal is to drive eyeballs and increase market share.
    As for the costs, I think that they will make cuts. Yes, Bezos has plenty of money to play with. But he’s a disruptive business man at the end of the day. And that means upsetting the status quo, which obviously isn’t working. The old loyalties are gone and I think we will probably see a lot of new, younger, cheaper voices on the op-ed page. The WaPo’s relationship with the old money, hawkish wing of the GOP is coming to an end, IMO.

  • Sorry that already happened. Weymouth has no idea what she is doing.

  • My earlier comment was supposed to be in response to BillIAm’s comment. Don’t know why it didn’t connect.

  • Which one? (He has two.)

  • This will ultimately turn out to be good news, I think. Keeping it in the family has played a large part in their undoing. The Post was once a very well respected and influential news source, but that was a long time ago. Hopefully Bezos can turn them around.

    • KSB

      Yup, Don Graham didn’t mince words when he commented that the newspaper would continue to survive if retained by the Post Co. but would not thrive, which is what he’s hoping will eventually happen again with this deal. Bezos seems like a good fit for the type of innovation and experimentation that will need to happen over the next several years…

  • clevelanddave

    I wonder how his experiments in owning IMDb and his connection/experience with LivingSocial will play into this? I expect he sees synergies we do not, and wants to play around to see what works. If nothing else, he is a curious person.

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