Jeff Bezos to buy the Washington Post

Jeff Bezos to buy the Washington Post

Thanks to a couple of readers who alerted me to this in private e-mails.

Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post (and some affiliated papers, including the important El Tiempo Latino Spanish-language newspaper) for $250 million.

Now, it’s important to note that Amazon isn’t buying this: it’s coming out of the CEO’s own pocket.

Needless to say, this is a surprise to a lot of people.

Jeff Bezos hasn’t owned a newspaper, to my knowledge…and I’m not sure that I would think now is the time to buy one. However, the CEO’s willingness to lose money at Amazon may be a useful skill at a newspaper in the 21st Century. 😉

I went to a reliable news source (The Washington Post) 😉 and they have a lengthy article with a lot of details and personal reaction:

Washington Post article

I have to admit some concern on hearing this news…not so much fear for the paper. Amazon has often had a light hand after making acquisitions, and I wouldn’t expect Jeff Bezos to tromp in there and start changing a lot of things.

No, I was more concerned about the time and energy it would mean that the guiding light of Amazon would have to take away from that company.

Bezos addresses that in the article:

“Bezos said he would maintain his home in Seattle and would delegate the paper’s daily operations to its existing management. “I have a fantastic day job that I love,” he said.”

Alright, Jeff…but remember, if you buy it, you are going to have to feed it and clean up after it. 😉

No top-level personnel changes at the paper are expected right now, and the family seems happy with the decision (although giving up family control after close to a century isn’t easy, of course).

How big a deal is this for Bezos? Well, at an estimated personal wealth of $23.2 billion, you could say it’s very roughly like somebody with a personal wealth of $1,000,000 (let’s say they have a $750,000 house and $250,000 in other assets, like retirement accounts and such) spending $10,775…it’s not a small amount, but you could make a mistake at that level and be okay.

This news comes shortly after the news that The Boston Globe, another venerable newspaper, was being sold to the owner the Boston Red Sox, John W. Henry.

Do I think Bezos will take the newspaper all digital right away? Nope…but certainly, increasing digital involvement may be important. Do I think Jeff Bezos will make The Washington Post unavailable at other digital retailers? Nope…Bezos will, in my opinion, want to keep the integrity of the paper’s reputation. Remember, too, that Amazon doesn’t own the paper…so it doesn’t even mean that we’ll get a deal in the Kindle store on it.

All in all, this is another sign of the transitional phase taking place in written word media.

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to reader Harold for a comment that improved this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

2 Responses to “Jeff Bezos to buy the Washington Post”

  1. Harold Says:

    I’m thinking that in “Do I think Jeff Bezos will make The Boston Globe unavailable at other digital retailers? Nope … ” you meant the Post. Of interest to me was the price paid for the Globe which was less than what the owner paid for his second baseman.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      D’oh! Thanks! I’ve fixed it, and given you a thanks at the bottom of the post.

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