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Washington Post to Be Sold to Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon (The Washington Post)
The Washington Post Co. agreed Monday to sell its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com 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. The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for the Post, Washington’s leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation’s politics and policy. The Washington Post / Jeff Bezos 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. HuffPost / The Backstory On Monday at 4:15 p.m., Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth informed staff that there would be “an announcement” just 15 minutes later in the paper’s first floor auditorium. Some speculated that the Post had sold its historic downtown Washington headquarters, which had been on the market for six months. Following the Bezos announcement, a Post staffer described colleagues as “shocked and stunned.” NYT Perhaps the biggest surprise in the sale is that it happened under the watch of Donald Graham. All scions of industry do their time on the shop-room floor, but Graham had shown that he didn’t want to just inherit his enterprise, he wanted to earn it. The idea that Graham would sell the paper, whatever merits the sale might entail, seemed as unlikely as Henry V giving up the crown. But on Monday, Graham seemed at peace with what he had done. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Carl Bernstein: “I have high hopes that [Monday's] announcement will represent a great moment in the history of a great institution: recognition that a new kind of entrepreneurship and leadership, fashioned in the age of the new technology, is needed to lead not just the Post, but perhaps the news business itself, in combining the best of enduring journalistic values with all the potential of the digital era — including a profit model that will finance a renaissance of the kind of reporting that is essential for Washington, for American journalism, and for the world.” CJR / The Audit We have now officially entered the oft-predicted Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper industry’s collapse. New Republic Craigslist’s Craig Newmark has not bought the Post, thank goodness — that would be too much to bear. But Bezos as the white knight provokes only slightly less shock and dolor. We knew the other guys had won a long time ago, but it’s another thing when they can waltz in and, in the charmless guise of “Explore Holdings LLC,” drop $250 million in cash for a legendary paper (that’s a mere one percent of Bezos’ net worth), as flip and easy as plucking an Apollo rocket engine from the ocean or building a $42 million, 10,000-year clock in West Texas. NYT / DealBook If it wasn’t clear that newspapers have become trophies for the wealthy with an interest in journalism or power — or a combination of both — it should be now. TVSpy The acquisition does not include the Post-Newsweek station group; Cable ONE, Slate, TheRoot.com, Foreign Policy and Kaplan are also not included in the deal. The Washington Post Company will be changing its name. TheWrap / MediaAlley Washington Post Co. shares immediately spiked on word that the company had sold its money sucking newspapers to Bezos. In immediate after-hours trading, shares climbed nearly 5.5 percent to $599.85.