Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, agreed to buy The Washington Post, which is one of the best and well-known legacy media publications in the United States. The digital billionaire will pay $250 million in cash for the newspaper.
Bezos is handling the deal individually. He said that The Washington Post will not be part of Amazon.com. The sale came during a digital revolution when people are changing how they get their news. The newspaper business has been trying to cope with the transition.
In a letter to staffers of The Washington Post, Bezos stated that the values of the family-owned newspaper will not change. It is the newspaper’s duty to remain to its readers and not take the private interests of its owners.
The Washington Post is a journalistic icon after it helped uncover the Watergate scandal that caused the presidency of Richard Nixon. The event was immortalized in the movie All the President’s Men.
The deal with Bezos ends the ownership by the Graham family. They owned The Washington Post for four generations. It also symbolizes the evolution of the newspaper industry. At present, newspaper circulation and revenue are declining as people turn to digital media.
Owners of newspapers are trying out new ways to improve their circulation and ad revenue models. They are also more open in selling their printed properties. Last week, Red Sox majority owner John Henry agreed to buy The Boston Globe from The New York Times for $70 million.
Aside from The Washington Post, Bezos is also purchasing a couple of properties in the Washington area. They include the Express newspaper, Southern Maryland Newspapers, The Gazette newspapers, El Tiempo Latino, Fairfax County Times, and Greater Washington Publishing.
According to the report, Slate magazine, Foreign Policy and The Root are not part of the deal. They will remain with The Washington Post Co.