Will the man who revolutionised the way we buy and sell things, also change the way we look at news? It is possible now Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, has bought the prestigious American newspaper The Washington Post for 250 million dollar.
Just to be clear: the paper is not being acquired by Amazon, but by Jeff Bezos personally. The legendary American entrepreneur had no problem footing the bill, as his personal worth is estimated at 25 billion dollar.
For the sum of 250 million dollar (over 188 million euro) Bezos will become the sole owner of one of America’s most respected newspapers, if the deal goes through. The Washington Post was the paper that blew the lid on the Watergate scandal for instance.
Bezos is buying the paper of the family Graham, who owned it for generations. With the takeover of The Post, Bezos will also get The Express Newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing. The parent company, The Washington Post Company, and the real estate will stay with the current owners, which include famous investor Warren Buffet.
“There is no map”
The whole world and not in the least editors and publishers, will be anxiously anticipating the plans of Bezos. It is a well-known secret the world of newspapers is struggling with the rise of the internet and way consumers “consume” news. The Washington Post itself is living proof of this change: the past six years, sales dropped by a total of 44% and the past six months, circulation dropped by 7%.
Everybody is wondering whether Bezos has a radical new business plan for media in general (and specifically newspapers). In a letter to the paper he has said “there is no map”. “We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. The values of The Post do not need changing”, he reassured his editors.
Jeff Bezos has always had an interest in news media. He has also invested millions in the popular news blog Business Insider.