Ama­zon founder picks up new ti­tle — Wash­ing­ton Post owner

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES in Los An­ge­les Wash­ing­ton AP— XIN­HUA

Jef­frey Be­zos, founder of Ama­ who helped bring books into the dig­i­tal age, is go­ing af­ter an­other pil­lar of “old me­dia”: The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Be­zos, 49, struck a deal an­nounced on Mon­day to buy the ven­er­a­ble Wash­ing­ton broad­sheet and other news­pa­pers for $250 mil­lion. It was a star­tling demon­stra­tion of how the In­ter­net has cre­ated win­ners and losers and trans­formed the me­dia land­scape.

Be­zos pi­o­neered on­line shop­ping, first by sell­ing books out of his Seat­tle garage in 1995, then with just about ev­ery­thing else. In do­ing so, he has amassed a $25 bil­lion per­sonal for­tune, based on the most re­cent es­ti­mates by Forbes mag­a­zine.

Be­zos is buy­ing The Wash­ing­ton Post as an in­di­vid­ual. Ama­ Inc is not in­volved.

Be­zos said to Post em­ploy­ees in a let­ter that he’d 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. “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,” he wrote. “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.”

Wash­ing­ton Post Co 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 did not an­nounce what the new name will be.

Be­zos said in a state­ment that he un­der­stands the Post’s “crit­i­cal role” in Wash­ing­ton and said 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.

“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.”


A man leaves The Wash­ing­ton Post build­ing af­ter the an­nounced sale of the news­pa­per on Mon­day in Wash­ing­ton. The Gra­ham fam­ily has agreed to sell the flag­ship news­pa­per for $250 mil­lion to Ama­ founder Jef­frey Be­zos.

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