Amazon's Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The Washington Post Co. today sold its flagship newspaper to Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon. In a statement, the Post said it sold the newspaper for a price of $250 million.
In a letter to employees, the publisher of the Washington Post, Katharine Weymouth, said, "This is a day that my family and I never expected to come. The Washington Post Company is selling the newspaper it has owned and nurtured for eight decades."
"I think it surprised everybody, including investors, people who follow business fairly closely, as I do," said Poynter's Rick Edmonds. "But it makes some sense when you think about it. I think the key point is that Mr. Bezos, being an extremely wealthy individual can take as much time, invest as much money as he thinks appropriate to manage this transition of the business to a digital era. It's taken so long, and the progress has been so halting that it's been very hard for a publicly traded company like the Washington Post Co. to justify that sort of investment and timeframe."
In a letter to Washington Post employees, Bezos wrote:
"You’ll have heard the news, and many of you will greet it with a degree of apprehension. When a single family owns a company for many decades, and when that family acts for all those decades in good faith, in a principled manner, in good times and in rough times, as stewards of important values – when that family has done such a good job – it is only natural to worry about change.
So, let me start with something critical. The values of The Post do not need changing. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes.When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.
I won’t be leading The Washington Post day-to-day. I am happily living in “the other Washington” where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, The Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I’m extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on."