Wednesday, August 07, 2013

WaPo drifts down the Amazon

By Carl

Well, Jeff Bezos, the creator of, has purchased 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 to The Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses.

Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Post Co. will get a new, still undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without the newspaper.

The Post Co. will retain the building in Washington, as well as the online presence of subsidiary websites such as and Foreign Policy magazine.

The newspaper business has had a rough time of it, adjusting to the online news presence of so many blogs, websites, and news outlets. Even the vaunted NY Times has had to eat crow and a billion dollars on what should have been a profitable endeavor, the purchase of the Boston Globe.

The Post made its own stupid decisions, most notably buying Newsweek magazine for a premium – which ironically was also sold over the weekend by IAC to IBT -- and a raft of television stations, none of which bolstered its flagging paper and only distracted resources and attention.

Bezos is generally acknowledged as a CEO’s CEO, one of the top two or three in the world. He also skews a little liberal (he’s a big supporter of Senator Patty Murray of Washington) which bodes well as a bulwark against the corporatocracy of Rupert Murdoch and other conservatives who own the “liberal” media. He’ll be keeping the paper privately owned, which means that he won’t be responsible to shareholders for quarterly earnings and may be able to build a media empire on this foundation.

If anyone can, it would be the guy who started the world’s largest bookstore.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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