The Washington Post Company just announced that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is buying its publishing business, including The Washington Post newspaper for $250 million.
I bet you didn’t see that coming.
To be clear, Bezos is buying it. Not Amazon. It will not become an Amazon property.
“Everyone at the Post Company and everyone in our family has always been proud of The Washington Post — of the newspaper we publish and of the people who write and produce it,” said Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company. “I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders). Jeff Bezos’ proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post.”
“I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change,” said Mr. Bezos. “Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.”
Bezos wants publisher and CEO Katharine Weymouth and president and GM Stephen P. Hills, executive editor Martin Baron and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt to continue in their respective roles. Apparently they have agreed.
“With Mr. Bezos as our owner, this is the beginning of an exciting new era,” said Weymouth. “I am honored to continue as CEO and Publisher. I have asked the entire senior management team at all of the businesses being sold to continue in their roles as well.”
In addition to The Washington Post, Bezos will get the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing. He will not, however, get Slate, TheRoot.com or Foreign Policy, which will all remain part of The Washington Post Company.
The WaPo Labs and SocialCode businesses, the company’s interest in Classified Ventures and certain real estate assets like the headquarters in Washington D.C. will also remain with the company.
The Washington Post Company will be changing its name in light of the deal, but what that name will be has yet to be determined. The deal is expected to close later this year.