Jeff Bezos just made a rather hefty purchase. The CEO and founder of Amazon has bought The Washington Post.
While emphasizing that he has no intention of making dramatic leadership changes or moving to the District from "the other Washington," here's a snippet hinting at a long-term agenda:
There will of course be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. 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. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there. I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.
Bezos is paying approximately $250 million in cash for The Post as well as affiliated publications within the Washington Post Co. portfolio.
The deal is expected to be completed within the next two months.
The move is arguably a surprise to many in both the technology and media worlds.
For starters, Bezos has no history running a newspaper or similar news media organization.
But based on the report from the Post itself, apparently Amazon as a company will not have any active role or influence over the venerable news outlet.
If and when the deal goes through, Bezos will be the sole owner of the Washington Post Company, replacing the Graham family.
The Washington Post Company's chief executive officer Donald Graham acknowledged financial and circulation declines in an interview with the Post.
He also admitted that selling to Bezos doesn't guarantee "success but it gives us a much greater chance of success."
Management and operation of the Washington Post is expected to continue business-as-usual -- at least for the near future.