The Washington Post Co. sells the Post to Jeff Bezos for $250 million
In a late afternoon bombshell announcement, Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post called an all hands on deck meeting to announcement the paper had been sold to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com. for $250 million. The deal does not involve Amazon.com, but will it mean that Bezos will be more sensitive to the needs of publishers now that he is one himself? Or is the purchase only about politics and influence in the nation’s capitol.
The announcement means that the Graham family’s ownership of an iconic newspaper brand is coming to an end. The paper of the Watergate era, and of the Iraq Wars, is over. The divestiture includes the publishing businesses owned by The Washington Post Company, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing, as well as the print facilities. It does not include Slate.com and Foreign Policy magazine.
“Every member of my family started out with the same emotion—shock—in even thinking about” selling The Post, Donald Graham said in an interview with his paper. “But when the idea of a transaction with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings.”
Unfortunately, it is hard to believe that Graham really was in shock. After all, the same article that contains this quote also says that the company had brought in Allen & Co. to shop the paper.
Now everyone will want to know about Bezos’s opinions on paywalls, tablet editions and journalism, in general. But the man behind Amazon.com has not been exactly the most open person when it comes to giving out specifics. Try finding out exactly how many Kindle Fires have been sold, for instance.