Amazon owner buys Washington Post

06/08/2013

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has personally bought The Washington Post and other newspapers for $250m (£163m).

Watch this video report from Bloomberg here:

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The company, which owns the Kaplan education business and several TV stations, will change its name.

Bezos is buying the paper as an individual and Amazon is not involved in the sale.

Bezos said in a statement that he understands the Post's "critical role" in Washington and said its values will not change.

"The paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners," he said.

He also confirmed that he would be keeping his "day job" as Amazon CEO and a life in "the other Washington" where Amazon's headquarters in Seattle are based.

But he made clear there would be changes, if unforeseen ones, coming.

Amazon the publisher?

Amazon's ebook publishing unit recently sold its first million-copy hit when sales of the Hangman's Daughter series crashed through the seven-figure mark. The Washington Post is different though, as Bezos will personally own the business outright and has said Amazon has no role in the purchase.

He has written a memo to the Post's staff saying he will not lead the paper day-to-day's operations.

In his letter to staff Bezos added: "The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs.

"There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."

Donald Graham, Washington Post chairman and CEO, called Mr Bezos a "uniquely good new owner".

He said the decision to sell was made after years of newspaper industry challenges including falling advertising revenues and readership numbers.

The Post has been owned by the Graham family for 80 years.

"Years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post," said Post chief executive, Donald Graham.

"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."

Read the Open Letter here

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