The Corner

Jeff Bezos to Buy the Washington Post

The Washington Post and some of its affiliated publications are being sold to Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos for $250 million.

Amazon itself will have no role in the purchase; Bezos will be the company’s sole owner, taking over from 80 years of ownership by the Graham family.  

The paper, like many others, has had difficulty staying profitable in the digital age, with operating revenue declining 44 percent over the last six years. Though Donald Graham, the Post Co.’s chief executive, said that the paper could have remained profitable for the foreseeable future, the ownership “wanted to do more than survive.”

Bezos called the Washington Post “an important institution,” and said he doesn’t “have a worked-out plan.”

“This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation,” Bezos said in an interview. Nevertheless, Bezos said the “key thing” that people should take away from the paper’s acquisition is that “the values of the Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”

In a letter to the paper’s employees, Bezos wrote that he will not be leading the paper in its day-to-day activities, which he would leave up to the Post’s ”excellent leadership team.” In addition, Bezos wrote that the paper “ 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.”

The Bezos acquisition does not mark the end of the Graham family’s involvement in the paper: The paper’s publisher and niece of CEO Donald Graham, Katharine Weymouth, will stay on as publisher and chief executive (in a note to Post employees, she said, “This is a day that my family and I never expected to come”). In addition, executive editor Martin Baron will remain with the paper and no layoffs are planned.

The acquisition includes a number of WaPo’s affiliated newspapers, including the Fairfax County Times and some other suburban D.C. papers, and the daily’s production facilities, but didn’t involve the paper’s main office real estate in D.C. or its online affiliates, such as Slate and Foreign Policy.

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More
Sports

The Kaepernick Saga Drags On . . . off the Field

Colin Kaepernick’s workout for NFL teams in Atlanta this weekend did not run smoothly. The league announced an invitation to scouts from every team to watch Kaepernick work out and demonstrate that he was still ready to play. (As noted last week, the workout is oddly timed; the NFL season is just a bit past its ... Read More
World

Israel’s New Way of War

Commuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police ... Read More
White House

Decide Trump’s Fate at the Ballot Box

If Donald Trump’s presidency is going to end before 2025, it should end at the ballot box. A lot of what has been revealed by Trump’s desire to see Ukraine investigate Joe and Hunter Biden -- or at least publicly announce an investigation -- merely confirms character traits, instincts, and habits that have ... Read More