Jeff Bezos, the Amazon.com founder who helped bring books into the digital age, is going after another pillar of “old media”: the newspaper.
Bezos is buying The Washington Post and other newspapers for $250 million, The Washington Post Co. announced Monday. Bezos is buying the paper as an individual. Amazon.com Inc. is not involved.
Washington Post chairman and CEO Donald Graham called Bezos a “uniquely good new owner.” He said the decision was made after years of newspaper-industry challenges. The company, which owns the Kaplan education business and several TV stations, will change its name but didn’t say what the new name will be.
Bezos said in a statement that he understands the Post’s “critical role” in Washington and that its values won’t change.
“The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners,” Bezos said to Post employees in a letter distributed to the media. “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.”
Katharine Weymouth, the paper’s publisher and CEO and a member of the Graham family that has owned the paper since 1933, will remain in her post. She has asked other senior managers to stay in their posts as well.
“Mr. Bezos knows as well as anyone the opportunities that come with revolutionary technology when we understand how to make the most of it,” she said in a letter to readers. “Under his ownership and with his management savvy, we will be able to accelerate the pace and quality of innovation.”