Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post for $250m

The head of e-commerce retailer Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has agreed to the purchase of the Washington Post newspaper for $250m (£163m).

The Post, alongside the New York Times, is regarded as one of the most prestigious publications in the United States, but dwindling circulation - down 6.5% last year - and the rise of online media has hurt the flagship paper, which famously broke the Watergate scandal in 1972.

"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, whose family have owned the Post for 80 years.

"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."

Though the new owner will not be "leading day-to-day" he has pledged the "need to experiment" as the Amazon chief looks to the modern challenges facing print. In an open letter to the readershipBezos wrote:

"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.

"I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post's values will not change. Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future."